Pacquiao works on softening up unbeaten foeBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HOLLYWOOD—The fight sequence was done in slow motion before a handful of trusted spectators at the Wild Card gym here Saturday.
Yet it revealed volumes of how Manny Pacquiao will try to soften up Timothy Bradley when they tangle in Las Vegas a week from now.
As Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez dug in with a left hook to the body, Pacquiao used his elbows to block it and then sneaked in a punch.
It nearly replicated what the bosom buddies rehearsed Friday (Saturday in Manila), the difference then was Fernandez’ target being higher, thus allowing Pacquiao to duck before countering.
Fernandez, who took over Pacquiao’s cooling down exercises after gym master Freddie Roach left early to work the corner of Lateef Kayode in his draw against Antonio Tarver Saturday night, said just like Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, Bradley is muscular and seems to be slower.
The 33-year-old Pacquiao, of course, stopped Cotto in the 12th round and made Clottey retreat into his defensive shell for a lopsided unanimous decision.
Satisfied with the training he had, Pacquiao told Manila-based sportswriters to “just relax,” implying that he’s going to take care of the now loud-mouthed Bradley.
Pacquiao sparred for five rounds with Ruslan Provodnikov Saturday and clearly got the better of the Russian.
The action, however, was interrupted when Provodnikov caught Pacquiao with a low blow.
Still, it was another enthralling three-hour workout that left both Pacquiao and Roach satisfied.
Roach feels Pacquiao, with his perceived edge in speed, power and experience, will eventually stop Bradley in the latter stages of the 12-round per-per-view bout.
Though confident of emerging triumphant, Pacquiao refused to predict a stoppage, saying that “it’s God’s will” if the knockout comes.
Bradley is not on the same wavelength, though, telling HBO Pacquiao-Bradley 24/7 Series that he’s raring to go for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight crown.
“I can fight today. I can fight tomorrow,” said the unbeaten Bradley, who wants to make Pacquiao his fourth straight southpaw victim after Luis Carlos Arigu, DeVaughn Alexander and Joel Casamayor.