MANNY Pacquiao has every reason to expect a different Timothy Bradley when the two ring rivals meet again for the third time four months from now.
Thanks to new trainer Teddy Atlas, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion has finally evolved from a boring boxer into an exciting fighter.
And that suits the 37-year-old Pacquiao perfectly fine.
“I noticed under his new trainer, Bradley become aggressive, unlike when he was still under the watch of Joel Diaz,” said Pacquiao on the first day of year 2016 from his home in GenSan.
On Thursday, the Filipino boxing great announced through promoter Bob Arum that Bradley will be his opponent in his ring comeback on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, personally choosing the native of Palm Springs, California from a short list that also included reigning WBO light-welterweight champ Terrence Crawford and former three-time world titlist Amir Khan.
It will be the third meeting in the last four years between Pacquiao and Bradley, who split their first two meetings in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
The 32-year-old Bradley won their initial encounter behind a controversial split decision, before Pacquiao evened matters by scoring a lopsided unanimous decision in their rematch two years later.
Bradley had Diaz as trainer in both fights.
But Bradley (33-1-1-1, 13 KOs) has since replaced Diaz with Atlas, who served as assistant – albeit for a short time - of the late great trainer Cus D’Amato.
Atlas already worked Bradley’s corner during his defense of the WBO 147-lbs title against Brandon Rios, who he demolished in a ninth-round technical knockout last November at the Thomas &Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) also fought Rios in 2013 and settled for a unanimous decision.
But the ‘Pacman’ is not about to cower in fear at the sight of Bradley, saying he’s more convinced the American is a more worthy opponent than Crawford or Khan.
“If Bradley would maintain that kind of fighting style, the boxing fans can expect lots of fireworks (during the fight),” said Pacquiao, who will be running for a seat in the Senate in the national polls this May.
“That’s what I want.”