Thursday, March 20, 2014
Roach: 'It's last call for Bradley'
By Dan Rafael
Manny Pacquiao spent the first few weeks of his training camp in the Philippines preparing for his April 12 rematch with welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. (HBO PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Last week, Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach returned to Roach's Wild Card Gym for the final weeks of camp.
Not surprisingly, Roach said he likes what he has seen so far. Of course, what trainer has ever said his fighter was having a terrible training camp?
So let's see what the Hall of Fame trainer had to say.
"Manny started the week a little slow due to jetlag but finished off strong on Saturday," Roach said. "He was just brilliant in his sparring on Saturday. His footwork was effortless, his hand speed was blazing and his power is as good as it has ever been.
"We are training for big game in this fight. Manny knows he is going to have to hunt Bradley down and close the show this time. The first fight with Bradley was so easy for Manny that after six rounds he just took it easy on him. Not this time."
When they first met in June 2012, Pacquiao looked as though he had cruised to a lopsided and easy unanimous decision. Then the judges shocked the world with two of them awarding Bradley the controversial split decision -- one of the worst decisions in boxing history.
Now, the two fighters are doing it again, and Roach expects Pacquiao to step on the gas this time.
"Our Mantra is 'Close the show. No mercy.' You don't have to be a groundhog to know that Bradley's days as welterweight champ are numbered," Roach said. "It's last call for Bradley on April 12.
"Manny is really motivated for this fight. We decided no matter how many fights we have remaining, we are determined to run the table and win every one. And when it is over, it is going to be as world champion. And that can only happen with a total and absolute victory over Bradley."
Roach also went after Bradley, who claimed he hurt both of his feet during the fight and showed up at his postfight news conference in a wheelchair.
"Bradley says he fought Manny last time with two bad feet. I don't remember him coming into the ring in a wheelchair," Roach said. "He hurt his feet when Manny connected his power punches on him. Manny hit Bradley so hard it broke his ankles.
"For Bradley to say, 'Manny doesn't have the hunger anymore and it's never coming back' and 'Manny no longer has his killer instinct,' that tells me that Bradley is still suffering from the concussion [Ruslan] Provodnikov laid on him."
Last March, in his first fight after the fight with Pacquiao, Bradley barely survived to win a decision against Provodnikov in the 2013 fight of the year. In his next fight, Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) outpointed Juan Manuel Marquez in October.
In Pacquiao's first fight following the Bradley controversy, Marquez knocked Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) out in the sixth round in December 2012 in that year's fight of the year. Pacquiao took nearly a year off before returning to rout Brandon Rios in a near-shutout decision in November in Macau.