Like clockwork every Feb. 2, boxing media can count on one thing: A release from esteemed publicist Fred Sternburg with an exclusive Groundhog Day boxing prediction from the one and only Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, Punxsutawney Phil.
Apparently, Sternburg has a close relationship with the varmint because ol' Phil, besides checking for his shadow to see how long winter will last, always gives him something boxing related as he emerges from his burrow at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Now I wasn’t there and can’t be sure, but Sternburg assured everyone that Phil came out of his hole at 7:25 a.m. on Tuesday wearing a Denver Broncos jersey embroidered with "Manningfest Destiny" and proceeded to proclaim in his native Groundhogese, that Timothy Bradley Jr. (33-1-1, 13 KOs) would prevail when he meets rival Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) in their third welterweight showdown on April 9 (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
According to Sternburg, ol' Phil had this to say (as he shadowboxed, of course): "I caucused long and hard over this. Because both fighters are equally great, I had to break the deadlock on predicting the winner by flipping a coin. Both fighters are going to go at each other with guns blazing. It's going to be a firefight, and since Bradley and his trainer Teddy Atlas are firemen, you have to give them the nod. I also predict that Bradley will spring into an early lead for 2016 fighter of the year."
When pressed for a definitive answer on whether Pacquiao had a chance to defeat Bradley, ol' Phil astounded the media by answering in Pacquiao’s native Filipino dialect Tagalog and in English: "Hinding-hindi na. Absoulutely not. Nevermore."
Ol' Phil then disappeared, but come next Feb. 2 you can be assured he will come out of his burrow bright and early, shadowbox and make another bold boxing prediction.