- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- When junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. gets ready for a fight, he does something quite unusual for a fighter: He goes vegan.
Instead of eating healthy portions of chicken, steak, turkey or fish, Bradley cuts out all animal products leading up to his fights.
That means no meat or dairy products whatsoever. Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) eats those foods, but not when training for a fight, such as the one he's readying for against welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"I'm three months into being a vegan for this fight," Bradley said while meeting with a handful of reporters on Wednesday, shortly before the final news conference for the card.
"It's been four years since I've been doing it this way. Every fight I get prepared for, I go vegan for about 3½ months."
Bradley said he likes how it makes him feel.
"I just feel so much better. Cleaner, mental clarity," he said. "You see the physique. I don't lose any muscle. I'm a lean, mean, fighting machine."
Bradley first began following a vegan diet in training when he challenged Junior Witter for a junior welterweight title in England in 2008. Bradley scored a knockdown in the sixth round and went on to win a split decision and his first world title.
"I did it for the Witter fight and I felt phenomenal," Bradley said. "Witter declined during the second half of the fight, and I took it to him the second half. It works."
So how did Bradley get turned on to the whole vegan thing, anyway?
"I met some doctors through a friend, Sam Jackson, that turned me on to it," he said. "They were vegetarians. They said something along these lines -- they said, 'You see those 350-pound gorillas? Do they eat meat?' I was like, 'Do they?' They said they don't eat meat, and I was like, 'Wow, they don't?' They don't eat any meat. They eat fruits, plants, natural vegetation. So I was like, 'Wow.' They said, 'You see how big they are? You see how aggressive they are? You see how strong they are? Our genetic makeup is similar, right? Isn't that was the scientists say, that our genetic makeup is similar to apes and gorillas?'
"That's all I needed to know. That's what I'm gonna do -- I'm gonna go vegan. I'm gonna eat trees and plants and fruits, grass. I'm gonna eat all of these things."
At home in Palm Springs, Calif., Bradley maintains his vegan diet with regular visits to his favorite restaurant, Palm Greens Cafe, where he has become such a regular (and a bit of a celebrity) that the owners named his favorite smoothie after him -- the Bradley Ultra Greens, which includes kale, spinach, apple, ginger, mint and banana, among other ingredients.