Bradley out to solve Pacquiao mysteryBy Roy Luarca
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAS VEGAS—Timothy Bradley thinks he has the key to solving the Manny Pacquiao mystery: Trace the blueprint of Juan Manuel Marquez’s last fight against the Filipino champ, then improve on it.
According to the unbeaten American, he will fight in the mold of the Mexican icon when he tries to snatch Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization welterweight crown on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at MGM Grand Garden Arena here.
“I want to finish the job (that Marquez started),” Bradley told a group of sportswriters 30 minutes before the final press conference of the Pacquiao-Bradley showdown was held at Hollywood Theatre of the MGM complex.
In their third fight last November, Marquez again gave Pacquiao a tough fight before yielding by a majority decision. Pacquiao also won by split decision in their second fight in 2008.
Their first encounter in 2004 saw Marquez escaping with a draw despite being knocked down three times in the first round. Of course, it was later revealed that a judge erred in scoring the first round and that Pacquiao should have won by decision by just a point.
Bradley, fresh and at his prime at 28 years old, had boasted that he was 10 times better than Marquez, adding that he was ready to shock the world by punishing and dominating Pacquiao, who had beaten his last 16 opponents in the United States since 2005.
Shift to veggie diet
But Bradley knows besting Pacquiao won’t be easy. That’s why he has put in at least five hours of training daily for the last three months, which also saw him shift to a vegetarian diet.
Bradley also acknowledged that Pacquiao would also aim for a special performance after being criticized for the narrow escape over Marquez and failing to knock out Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.
“Pacquiao is definitely bringing the pain,” Bradley said. “If Pacquiao is going to tie me up, it’s not going to happen.”
Though perceived to be a light hitter, having stopped only 12 of his 28 victims, Bradley said he would be firing shots and targeting Pacquiao’s body.
“I need to stay tight and keep my feet moving and counterpunch the hell out of this guy,” Bradley said. “I have to weaken and slow him down.”
Bradley said Pacquiao would be more focused in this fight despite the internal strife between his chief trainer, Freddie Roach, and his conditioning expert, Alex Ariza, who left Baguio City in a huff during the early part of Pacquiao’s training.
Roach, who will be flying to New York by private plane right after the fight which is predicted to be another sellout, wanted to get rid of Ariza in Pacquiao’s corner but was prevailed upon by the Sarangani representative to let Ariza stay.
Bradley said he didn’t care about what the faster, stronger Pacquiao did. All he is concerned about is winning every round of the fight that stands to net him at least $5 million and secure the future of his two stepchildren and 10-month-old daughter with wife Monica.
“I am bringing everything. This guy has got to knock me out,” said Bradley, the WBO welterweight king seeing action at 147 pounds for only the second time in his pro career.
Though Pacquiao refuses to say so, Roach has admitted that he wants a knockout this time.