Judging by the recent comments from Freddie Roach, he plans for Pacquaio to drag Tim Bradley back into the battle field, much in the same way his other protégé Ruslan Provodnikov managed to in their thrilling ‘Fight of the Year’ in 2013.
Timothy Bradley was taken to hell and back and was lucky survive a life and death battle with the big punching Russian- who is Pacquiao’s long time sparring partner. Roach wants Bradley to relive that nightmare again when he faces his star pupil Manny Pacquiao in their much anticipated April 12th rematch.
The conviction in Roach’s comments clearly tells us he thinks his fighter let Bradley off the hook in their last encounter by trying to coast to victory.
This time though, Roach will obviously impress upon Pacquaio that if he takes Bradley into deep water, he must drown him. As opposed to throwing him a life jacket like he did last time. Although, he was clearly robbed of a deserved victory, Pacquaio must shoulder some of the blame for the Bradley debacle.
Despite showing that he was clearly superior in every department he failed to properly impose his will on Bradley. In doing so, he paid the ultimate price. He lost his title, his reputation was tarnished and the defeat sent his career into an alarming tail spin. Ultimately, the Bradley fiasco sparked a chain of events which led to Pacquio crashing and burning with a brutal defeat by Marquez in his very next fight.
But hindsight is a wonderful thing. Surely if Pacquiao had foreseen the cataclysmic consequences the Bradley clash would have on his career he would have tried to finish Bradley. Instead, he inexplicably elected to take it easy and coast to what he obviously thought would have been a clear point’s victory. Pacquaio is aware of the errors of his ways, and knows unequivocally that he cannot afford to make the same mistakes again because, quite simply, his career is on the line.
If he has the chance, he must close the show this time in order to take the decision out the hands of judges.
Yet you can take nothing away from Timothy Bradley. Officially, he is still undefeated and the ‘Desert Storm’s’ career- in stark contrast to Pacquaio’s- has risen exponentially ever since his dubious decision victory of the Filipino icon. After his hellacious war with Ruslan Provodnikov, 2013’s ‘Fight of the Year’, he went back to what he knows best; giving Juan Manuel Marquez a boxing master class, to cap off another career defining calendar year in the sport. Although Bradley’s clash with ‘Dinamita’ Marquez was a bore fest, it clearly showed that he is an accomplished technician with brilliant boxing ability and razor sharp ring intellect.
They say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, so expect Bradley to employ a similar game plan against Pacquiao to the one he executed so successfully against Marquez.
He will rightfully be confident that he has the capacity to gain an actual legitimate victory against Pacquiao, who is on the decline. The natural aging process has led his power and speed to recede a little, and his defensive reflexes have definitely slowed down. On the other hand, Bradley has undoubtedly improved as a fighter since they last met.
But here’s the caveat. Can Bradley afford to be so conservative against Pacquaio, who is still, even in the autumn of his career, debatably faster and indisputably far more powerful than he is? Will cautiously circling the ring and carefully avoiding exchanges be enough again to land Bradley another landmark victory over Pacman?
I very much doubt it. He will have to be more expansive this time out to get the benefit of the doubt against Pacquiao. The same principle also applies to Manny Pacquiao: he must try and recapture his killer instincts at the expense of the compassion he has shown to many of his opponents since his destruction of Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Many experts consider the Cotto contest as Pacquaio’s last great performance. Truth be told, ever since then he has given the impression that he aspires to be a Nobel Peace Prize winner as opposed to a champion prizefighter. He seems to pity most of his opponents and shows such compunction for the punishment they take from him.
For instance, in the Maragarito fight, he showed the massive Mexican mercy long before the final bell sounded. In the later rounds he was noticeably neglecting to put power in his punches and was seen on multiple occasions looking at the referee willing him to stop fight. The fun loving Congressman looked visibly distressed by the damage he was causing to Margarito.
He really only displays his dark side when faced with a foe who he perceives to be of a similar ability such as Juan Manuel Marquez, who he genuinely loves going to war with.
He now knows Bradley is a warrior, a more than worthy opponent. It’s Manny Pacquiao who now needs to prove that he is still a warrior who wants to be a prizefighter and not a Nobel Peace Prize winner by punishing Bradley without compassion when they face off on April 12th.
Thanks for reading fight fans.
Has Pacquiao become too civilized or is he simply feeling the effects of father time?
Can he knockout Bradley, or will the Dessert Storm win another decision victory?
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