Manny Pacquiao is taking extra motivation from taunts by unbeaten Tim Bradley that the Filipino boxing icon has lost the hunger and killer instinct he once displayed with great passion.
“The more he says that, the more he inspires me to show the hunger and killer instinct he’s talking about,” Pacquiao said on Tuesday. “It’s good for me, but not for him I think.”
Pacquiao, 55-5 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, is to fight Bradley, 31-0 with 12 knockouts, for the American’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title in Las Vegas on April 12.
The fight is to be a rematch of a controversial Bradley victory by split decision in June 2012, in which all three judges scored the fight 115-113, two of them for Bradley, in what was seen as a robbery from Pacquaio.
“You don’t get mad. It’s part of life,” said Freddie Roach, Pacquaio’s trainer.
“Revenge is great. That’s what we have a chance to do here. If everything goes right we will knock this guy out,” Roach added.
Bradley has noted how Pacquiao has not stopped a foe since Miguel Cotto in 2009 and has not won a fight inside 12 rounds since dropping Ricky Hatton nearly five years ago, helping rekindle the fires inside the 35-year-old Asian southpaw.
“I’m not angry or disappointed at what he told me. I’m happy he told me that,” Pacquiao said. “It inspired me to train harder and focus on the fight. It will benefit me. I have not lost the hunger. Sometimes we knock the guy out and sometimes not.”
Pacquiao said he sees no more need for a knockout than usual, even after the controversial loss to Bradley in their first meeting.
“We’re not focusing on the knockout,” Pacquiao said. “The focus is on being more aggressive, throwing more punches. If that outcome comes, it’s fine. I just want to prove that I can have the killer instinct.”
Roach says Pacquiao relaxed late in the prior fight after dominating early rounds, he thought, on the judges’ scorecards. This time, there will be no coasting as the 12-round fight goes on.
“It was so easy for him in the early rounds,” Roach said. “In the later rounds he wasn’t throwing combinations. He was throwing single punches because he had done so well in the earlier rounds.”
“We need to be a little more aggressive in this fight. I think if we fight at an aggressive pace in this fight I think we will be able to stop him somewhere along the way. Whatever Bradley brings to the table, we’ll be ready,” he added.
However, Roach cautions, that does not mean seeking a knockout to appease taunts by Bradley, and forget strategy and planning.
“We don’t go into fights looking for knockouts. If they come they come,” Roach said. “We’re planning to beat him every round. If you try to knock the guy out, you will be waiting all night.”
Pacquiao said he does not feel angry at the judges from the first fight.
“No one is perfect in this world. Sometimes they make mistakes,” Pacquiao said.
“I wasn’t bothered after that fight when I went home. The reaction of the people was not negative. It was positive. They thought I won the fight. I’m not thinking about the judges. What I want to do is focus on the ring, about the strategy and techniques that we work on in the gym,” he added.
Pacquiao also said that his US and Filipino tax issues, and political life, would not be distractions.
“There’s nothing I have to worry about,” Pacquiao said of tax cases against him. “I didn’t hide anything. I’m not worried about that.”