With three weeks to go before MANNY PACQUIAO and TIM BRADLEY step into the ring in Las Vegas with intentions of punching each other’s lights out, a mystery continues to loom.
We know about Pacquiao’s retirement intentions, and about his political desires. The only mysteries there are (1) will he actually retire and (2) will he actually be elected a Philippine senator.
We know about Bradley’s discomfort with never getting the slight bit of credit for a victory over Pacquiao that the judges gave him, but nobody else did. We also know he has stopped trying to do battle with other boxers while fueling himself on Caesar Salad. Filet mignon, Tim. Then filet the opponent.
What we don’t know is what “The Log in the Ocean” means.
The phrase first came out about a month ago, over lunch in an Indio deli near Bradley’s training camp. Bradley said his trainer, Teddy Atlas, had set the theme for this April 9 fight at the MGM Grand as “The Log in the Ocean.”
Being the ever-intrepid journalist, I immediately applied my best and slickest investigative skills and responded, “What in hell does that mean?”
Bradley grinned and said that neither he nor Atlas would tell, maybe not even after the fight. I recall thinking smugly that I would figure it out quickly, or that somebody in the Bradley camp would crack. That was January. Now it is March. I still have no clue. So much for the investigative skills of old boxing writers.
So it is now time to do what journalism does so well these days, especially on Twitter. I will blindly speculate, with no facts or provable information to help me.
The Log in the Ocean means:
· Atlas is telling Bradley to float and bob;
· That is what Team Bradley hopes Pacquiao will look like, as he rests on his back on the canvas;
· Or, after the Bradley knockout, this is where they will dump Pacquiao and that is what he will look like;
· Keep punching Pacquiao until you make him seasick;
· Stay away from Pacquiao in the ring by moving like you are on a giant wave;
· What does a log in the ocean eventually do? It sinks;
· You win this fight, and the rest of your life will be a nice float into retirement;
· Stay in the center of the ring so you won’t get caught with a big punch and get knocked overboard;
· Just follow the game plan all night and everything will go swimmingly;
· Keep perspective in training and even during the fight — in the context of events taking place in the big world around you, this is as significant as a log in the ocean.
· Pacquiao had it once, but no more. He has gone from fast and wet and slippery to waterlogged;
· Don’t let Pacquiao find you, much less hit you. Be so mobile and tricky and in constant motion that getting to you for a solid punch will be like finding a log in the ocean;
· For years, Pacquiao has been just bob bob bobbin’ along and is now ripe to be chopped down;
· Don’t lose your roots, your basics, in the ring. If you do, the match will float away, like a log in the ocean.
· Leak a silly phrase to a sportswriter early in the promotion so he and others will spend their time trying to figure it out and leave you alone in training camp.
There they are, 15 well-researched and vetted possibilities about what the phrase means. Too bad this is too late for a Pulitzer entry. You can almost picture Atlas and Bradley, reading this and doubling over with laughter.
Got a better theory? The lines are open and operators are waiting at TopRank.com.
If you get it right, Bob Arum and Top Rank will give you four ringside tickets, along with airfare and lodging, to George Foreman’s next comeback fight.
If you have no clue — on this topic and in general — expect to be offered the job as Top Rank’s columnist for its next big fight.