Pacquiao aims to put on show vs Bradley
|Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao of the Philippines, world welterweight champion, spars with his trainer Freddie Roach (R) during a media day workout at Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, California May 30, 2012. Photo by Jonathan Alcorn, Reuters.|
LOS ANGELES - Filipino fight king Manny Pacquiao wants to deliver something special against Timothy Bradley on June 9, to erase the taste of his narrow victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
"It's really important because, of course, everybody knows my last fight was very close," Pacquiao said of the need if not for a knockout, at least for a fan-pleasing show.
Pacquiao edged Marquez by majority decision on November 12, stretching his victory streak to 15 fights but leaving his Mexican foe shouting robbery.
Adding more controversy to an already-heated rivalry, two judges handed Pacquiao the 12-round victory by margins of 116-112 and 115-113 while the third scored the fight a 114-114 draw.
In Marquez, Pacquiao had been taking on a familiar opponent, having beaten the Mexican in 2004 and 2008.
In Bradley, Pacquiao says he'll be facing a younger, "hungry" fighter, who has said this high-profile bout for Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization welterweight belt is the start of a new phase in his career.
"This is like my first fight all over again," said Bradley, the WBO light welterweight champion who boasts a record of 28-0 with 12 knockouts.
"In order to beat the champion you've got to take it to the champion," Bradley said last week. "We are setting out to win this fight and not sit around and look pretty. I am going to take it to Pacquiao."
Roach said that could be just what's needed to draw the best from Pacquiao.
"I think the way Bradley is going to come forward and force a fight, we're going to see a great Pacquiao," Roach said. "Bradley's a tough guy, very resilient. But being a tough guy doesn't win fights."
Pacquiao, who drew a throng of media to the Wild Card gym in Hollywood on Wednesday, promised he isn't underestimating the 28-year-old Bradley.
"He's a hungry fighter," Pacquiao said, although he made light of the age difference, saying that having built a record of 54-3-2 with 38 knockouts at the age of 33, he feels much younger.
"I'm still thinking I am 25, 26 years old," Pacquiao laughed.
Trainer Freddie Roach said he'd been impressed with the intensity Pacquiao has brought to his preparation.
Roach shook things up a bit by bringing in new sparring partners who didn't know Pacquiao, weren't friends and wouldn't go easy on the champion.
"It's worked out real well," Roach said Wednesday. "They're aggressive, I think it's helped."
On a different tack, however, Pacquiao was also joined in the United States by his wife and children, a further sign that the family troubles he said distracted him before his last bout were behind him.
"Manny's happy they're here," Roach said. "It's great."
Roach admitted he had some concerns that Pacquiao's new devotion to Bible study and spiritual matters might hinder him in the ring, with a newfound "compassion" somehow affecting his killer instinct.
"I was a little worried about that at first, but from the way he's been sparring and the way he hits the mitts, nothing has changed," Roach said. "He understands boxing is a sport, the sport he chose."
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