By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid has picked Manny Pacquiao over American Timothy Bradley in their 12-round title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, April 12.
The Nevada Democrat said Pacquiao, himself a member of the Philippine Congress, has too much skills and experience for Bradley, who holds the WBO welterweight title he wrested from the Filipino champion two years ago.
“I believe – as many people do – that he won their last fight,” Reid said. “Now, I think, it will be more decisive.”
In the wake of that Bradley split decision victory, Reid had called for a review of the decision and threatened to introduce legislation creating a federal boxing commission to regulate all boxing matches in the United States.
Nothing came out of the threat, but the noise following Bradley’s controversial win forced the WBO to review the fight.
A panel of experienced judges found that Pacquiao, who landed more power punches, had won the fight.
Reid was paying back what he acknowledged as Paquiao’s help in harnessing Filipino-American vote in his bruising bout with Republican and Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat.
Pacquiao appeared at a Las Vegas campaign rally for Reid weeks before the midterm elections. Reid, one of the Republican Party’s top targets in 2010, defeated Angle by 6 percentage points for a fifth term in the Senate.
In a visit to Washington, D. C. in 2010, Reid praised the eight-time world champion boxer and politician in a speech on the Senate floor.
“I’m most gratified … that he’s a friend of Nevada’s, ” Reid said, calling Pacquiao “an ambitious young man with a closet full of championship belts and the start of a promising political career already under his belt.”