HOLLYWOOD—Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is batting for a knockout, but a lopsided decision by Manny Pacquiao over Timothy Bradley will satisfy him as well.
A shaky victory, however, will be a major disappointment and will make Roach ponder over the future of his prized ward.
Losing, especially by knockout, is farthest from Roach’s mind.
Especially with the way Pacquiao’s training proceeded Friday (Saturday in Manila) at his Wild Card Gym here.
“[It’s our] best day with the mitts,” Roach told Manila sportswriters. “I am very happy with where he [Pacquiao] is right now.”
“He is really fired up and I like what I see,” Roach added after working the mitts for 12 rounds with Pacquiao.
According to Roach, whenever they are winding down the mitt sessions, Pacquiao discussed with him the combinations he’d use to bring Bradley down and regain his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown on April 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
And Pacquiao rarely does that.
Responding to Bradley’s threat to deliver a stunner by knocking out Pacquiao with a left hook, Roach said: “He can’t punch with either hand so I’m not worried about that. He’s just trying to talk himself into the fight.”
What Roach wants is for Pacquiao to end his nearly five-year knockout drought and silence the loudmouth 147-pound champion.
Of course that wouldn’t be too easy as Bradley has never been knocked out.
As long as Pacquiao puts up a dominant show, however, Roach will be satisfied.
“Bradley is one of the toughest guys in the world. He took a lot of punishment [from Ruslan Provodnikov] and he survived.”
The plan, of course, is for Pacquiao bring the fight to Bradley relentlessly throughout the 12-round pay-per-view bout.
“If Manny hurts him [Bradley], he’ll open up. And when he does Manny will finish him.”
Declaring Pacquiao “ready to fight,” Roach said he’ll let Pacquiao spar between four to six rounds on Saturday and three to four Monday before Team Pacquiao heads to Las Vegas for the fight week of the grudge rematch.
As usual, a huge crowd, with a sprinkling of Latinos, gathered outside the gym patiently waiting for Pacquiao to come out from the closed-door training.
Pacquiao, however, ditched his usual routine of having lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant and instead drove off to his home here.