LAS VEGAS - Timothy Bradley's confidence may have been so high that he couldn't resist taunting Manny Pacquiao when the two elite fighters had their traditional face-off in the final press conference for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title fight this Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).
As the cameras and flashbulbs clicked and the two fighters having the stage all to themselves face-to-face, the champion began talking to the former title holder.
"Are you ready?" asked Bradley, to which a smiling Pacquiao snapped back, "I'm ready."
Bradley repeated the question in a combative manner, "Are you sure you're ready?" And Pacquiao repeated his answer in his usual mild-manner way, "Yes, I'm ready."
"You better be ready," the champion shot back before the two finally parted ways.
The exchange of words more or less set the tone for the weekend grudge match at the MGM Grand billed by many as the most compelling fight for the first part of 2014.
That the 30-year-old Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) appeared livid in the face of Pacquiao is understandable. People remained unconvinced up to this time that he beat the boxing superstar from the Philippines in their 12-round match two years ago that saw the unbeaten American pull off an upset for the ages.
But the native of Palm Springs, California believed both he and Pacquiao are a changed fighter since that controversial meeting, with him on the rise and the Filipino southpaw already on the decline.
"I expect Manny Pacquiao to be aggressive. I'm expecting him to come out and prove a point. The only thing I feel that he may lack is fire. I just feel that his motivation is not there," he said.
As for himself, Bradley said he's now a "mature fighter," a "mature person" who is very confident right now.
But Pacquiao (55-5, 38 KOs) hardly shows he's affected by Bradley's new-found confidence.
"I'm prepared about what he's gonna do in the ring. If he becomes aggressive, that's good to me. But I'm also prepared if he's going to box. That's how focused I am," said Pacquiao, the 35-year-old congressman from Sarangani province.
And like the champion, the challenger is not entertaining the thought of losing the bout set for 12 rounds.
"I'm not thinking negative," said the eight-time world champion. "My mind is set on the winner's side that's why I think positive."
That only goes to show, both fighters are indeed, ready.