- Kieran Mulvaney, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao will fight Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night, but inevitably conversation with the Filipino star turns, sooner or later, to another undefeated American.
While Pacquiao and Bradley do battle on HBO pay-per-view, that other American, Floyd Mayweather Jr., will be completing his first full week as Inmate 01363197 in Clark County Detention Center, just a few miles away. Pacquiao, who says he has experienced a religious awakening over the past several months, demurred when it was suggested that perhaps he might visit his putative rival while he is in town, but he admitted that Mayweather's incarceration is on his mind.
"I'm praying for him," he said to a small group of reporters on Tuesday. "I'm not treating him as my opponent, my enemy or anything. I'm treating him as my friend, my brother. I'm praying for him that all things will be fine for him."
None of which is to say that he has dismissed thoughts of the seemingly eternally discussed possible fight between the two men, or that he is ready to embrace the most recent proposal Mayweather made in that regard: that Pacquiao take $40 million up front and that the American monopolize the pay-per-view proceeds.
"Well, if you are a fighter, would you fight if I give you 40 million and nothing to share in the PPV?" Pacquiao asked rhetorically. "I would not fight for that. He will be laughing [behind] my back if I do that. It's not a proper negotiation, if you're a businessman."
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, acknowledges that Mayweather remains the stiffest competition for his fighter, but he believes that Father Time is rendering him increasingly vulnerable to what Pacquiao brings to the table.
"Mayweather has changed a lot now; his legs can't get him out the way," he said. "I think he's getting older and his legs aren't what they were. I don't think he moves nearly as much as he used to, and I don't think he's doing it for his career; I think it's because he has to."
It's a situation that the soon-to-be Hall of Fame trainer feels can only be exacerbated by Mayweather's present confinement.
"One thing about jail time," Roach said. "I was in for two days, and I f------ hated it. It can't do you any good."
Mayweather surrendered in a Last Vegas courtroom on Friday to begin his 87-day jail sentence for a domestic battery. In December, he pleaded guilty to attacking his ex-girlfriend in September 2010.