BOTH Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach are of the belief that they will be up against a brand-new Timothy Bradley on April 13 (Manila time) when the American puts on the line his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In a media conference call on Thursday, Pacquiao and Roach admitted Bradley’s confidence level has soared since shocking the world in 2012 when he dethroned Pacquiao behind a controversial 12-round split decision for the 147-lb title.
Roach said that was very evident in the way Bradley fought and won in his last two fights against relentless Ruslan Provodnikov and Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, respectively.
“Bradley is a very tough guy. He takes good shots, he has a good chin. He boxed well against Marquez and he beat a good fighter,” said Roach.
Added Pacquiao, “he has improved since our last fight, but I don’t think he will change his style.”
Bradley beat Provodnikov by unanimous decision in a match that was honored as the 2013 Fight of the Year, before scoring a split decision over Marquez.
While Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) is obviously on the rise, Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) is still on the rebound.
The 35-year-old boxing great from General Santos City lost to Marquez in a stunning sixth round knockout six months after the Bradley setback. He did win his last fight against Brandon Rios by scoring a 12-round unanimous decision although he failed to knock down the young and tough American fighter.
But Roach said Pacquiao obviously didn’t go for the kill against Rios, who he said could have been knocked out by the Filipino southpaw if he wanted to.
“He might have been able to finish him (Brandon Rios). He hurt him a couple of times, but we didn’t jump in so quickly. So we did learn some things from that fight,” said the longtime Pacquiao trainer.
Against the unbeaten Bradley, the fight atmosphere will definitely be different.
Pacquiao said, “We are focusing on being more aggressive and throwing a lot of punches, and if the knockout comes, it comes. I just want to prove that I can have the hunger that it takes to get the job done.”
“We plan to beat him every round,” added Roach. “If a knockout comes, it comes but we are not going in there looking for a knockout, because again, if you go in their looking for a knockout, you’ll be waiting all night.”