LAS VEGAS – Instead of seeing it as a drawback, Manny Pacquiao considered his long layoff in boxing as a blessing in disguise.
With a fully-healed right shoulder, the Filipino boxing icon felt energized and reinvigorated ahead of his face-off with Timothy Bradley, who he is set to fight for the third time this Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) in a 12-round welterweight showdown at the MGM Grand.
The match will be the first for the 37-year-old Pacquiao since undergoing surgery last year to repair a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder, which he aggravated during the course of his mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. 11 months ago.
It was the longest time off he had in the sport since coming off a stunning sixth round knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez four years ago in December, 2012. Pacquiao also took the next 11 months until fighting Brandon Rios in Macau in 2013.
He admitted the operation helped him feel like a brand-new fighting machine.
“I feel fresh and new,” said the 37-year-old Filipino ring legend four days before climbing the ring again opposite Bradley. “It’s just like I’m starting at boxing, that’s what I have been feeling.”
Pacquiao said the shoulder injury has finally healed that he no longer felt any pain while in training camp for the Bradley fight for the last seven weeks.
“I feel good now when I train everyday,” a smiling Pacman said.
That certainly means trouble for Bradley, 32, one of only six men to inflict a loss on Pacquiao’s stellar career, which runs for more than two decades.
“It’s a good thing that I layoff for almost one year in boxing. It makes me hungry again,” he stressed.