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Timothy Bradley primed for his big shot against Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao left Timothy Bradley pose for photographers during press conference MGM GrLas Vegas Wednesday June 6 2012. The two

Manny Pacquiao, left, and Timothy Bradley pose for photographers during a press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Wednesday, June 6, 2012. The two will fight for the WBO World Welterweight title Saturday. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Locher)

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Updated: July 9, 2012 6:20AM

LAS VEGAS — He’s a vegan in a sport in which meat is king, a thinking man’s fighter in a game that embraces brawlers. Timothy Bradley never wavered in his chase for boxing glory, even when his bank account was down to $11 and there was no guarantee he would ever be on the big stage.

He’s finally got his big fight against Manny Pacquiao, and Bradley isn’t about to let the chance of a lifetime go by. Not after he’s gone through so much to get to where he’s at.

“It’s been a long journey but I knew someday I’d get here,” Bradley said. “I just didn’t know when or how.”

Bradley fights Pacquiao on Saturday in a bout that will earn him millions and could get him the respect he still craves. He’s a decided underdog, but some in boxing like his chances against a fighter who struggled his last time out and is suddenly regarded as vulnerable.

Count Bradley among them. He’s believed in himself since he was working as a waiter to support his boxing career, and later when his bank account was depleted and he had to go to England for a $40,000 payday and his first title shot.

At the final prefight press conference earlier this week, he was so confident he held an oversized copy of a ticket for a Nov. 10 rematch with Pacquiao — a fight that would only happen if Bradley wins the first fight.

“It’s all or nothing,” Bradley said. “No rounds off. Round by round I have to win each one.”

So far that hasn’t been a problem in Bradley’s career. He’s won all 28 of his fights. He got the fight not just because of his undefeated record, but the feeling in the Pacquiao camp that he is too slow and doesn’t punch hard enough to make him a threat.

Bradley would like nothing better than to prove them wrong.

“He’s going to respect me, believe it,” Bradley said. “As soon as I tag him he’s going to respect me.”

Bradley will fight for only the second time at 147 pounds, moving up to challenge Pacquiao for a piece of the welterweight title. He will make a minimum $5 million, but there will be more lucrative fights should he pull off an upset against the Filipino boxer/politician — who will make a guaranteed $26 million. AP

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