Roach downplays Bradley's 'improvement'

Posted at 02/13/2014 4:36 PM | Updated as of 02/13/2014 4:36 PM

Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach does not see any improvement in American Timothy Bradley Jr. from his first fight against Manny Pacquiao in June 2012 until now.

Bradley, who controversially defeated Pacquiao in that first fight, will try to pull off a repeat in April 12 when he defends the WBO welterweight belt against the “Pacman.”

Bradley and his camp believes he is now a better, more mature and more experienced fighter than the one who faced Pacquiao two years ago, but Roach isn’t so sure.

“I don’t think he’s better,” the trainer told The Sweet Science. “I think he’s the same guy.”

“He’s a good boxer,” Roach conceded, “but sometimes he tends to get into a fight, and that’s when he makes mistakes, because he likes to exchange sometimes.”

After Pacquiao’s loss to Bradley in 2012, another one of Roach’s fighters, Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia, lost to Bradley too in 2013. But it was a bout that gave the trainer a lot of insight into the unbeaten American.

“When he exchanges with Manny, Manny is the better, faster puncher, and the better puncher of the two. Like Ruslan was, he’ll be able to hurt him,” Roach said.

Roach’s opinion could not be more different from that of Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum, who sees Bradley as a far better fighter now than he was in 2012, thanks in part to that war against Provodnikov as well as his victory over Juan Manuel Marquez later in 2013.

“Timothy Bradley has proven what an exciting fighter he is on his two victories in 2013,” Arum said in Tha Boxing Voice. “There is no question that Tim Bradley is a much, much better, more confident fighter now than he was in 2012 when he fought Pacquiao.”

Although Roach does not think that Bradley has changed much, he is hopeful that the American will opt to be on attack mode come fight time.

“I hope he does press, because that will bring the best out of Manny,” he said.