‘Foot problem didn’t slow him down a bit’
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Freddie Roach is not buying the claims made by current welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley that injuries to both feet led to his dubious performance in the first fight with Manny Pacquiao.
At a roundtable discussion inside the media center of the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena on Thursday, April 10, Pacquiao’s trainer said that Bradley has been using that excuse as a crutch because throughout the course of the fight he was still able to push off and use his legs.
“He never slowed down,” said Roach. “The foot problem didn’t slow him down a bit.”
And when did Roach learn about Bradley’s injuries?
“After the fight,” he said. “He never complained during the fight.”
Roach of course is referring to the first time the two boxers met at the MGM back on June 9, 2012 when Bradley scored an upset split decision win to wrest Pacquiao’s WBO World welterweight championship title.
The decision was highly controversial — most boxing observers did not agree with the judge’s scorecards and thought the Filipino boxer was robbed of the fight that ended his seven-year run of dominance in which he won 15 consecutive bouts.
Now, almost two years later, the rematch is ready to go for this Saturday night at the Grand Garden Arena. Both fighters are meeting back up at much different points in their careers. Each, however, is looking to score a convincing victory over the other and put an end to the conversation once and for all of who’s better.
Reminded that Bradley had been limping pretty badly afterwards, Roach said, ”Yeah he had a lot of blood on his feet a lot of blood blister popped open and yeah he wore cheap socks and he got a sock deal out of it.
“It was a pretty good deal for him,” he said laughing.
Later on in the interview, Roach weighed in on the topic once again, but this time was a little more heated and less diplomatic.
“Who cares about the feet? That has nothing to do with the decision or anything in the world. I mean, who gives a (expletive) about the feet? I mean, ‘yeah just because you have a blister on your foot, what you’re not going to be a fighter with a blister on your foot’…come on, these guys are professional fighters, blisters on their feet is no (expletive) issue whatsoever.”
Roach said that Pacquiao is prepared to deal with Bradley’s constant movement and strategy of using most of the ring. The overwhelming feeling is that his unbeaten opponent will fight conservatively.
Among the many things they worked on during the course of their ten weeklong training camp, according to him, is Manny concentrating more on moving forward and setting traps.
“You know the ring is twenty by twenty but you can make it a lot smaller if you know how to cut the ring off and then you know how to use the ring and Manny has gotten better at that, he hasn’t perfected it yet because sometimes I don’t like when he puts himself in maybe a bad position, sometimes he’ll pin himself on the ropes and so forth but he definitely knows where he’s at in there.”
Roach added: “Manny closes distance better than any fighter in the world in my opinion. When he’s on his toes and uses his foot speed he closes distance very fast so most guys don’t see that coming and that’s where he has some of the success with his speed.”
As for the likelihood of Bradley getting lured into a slugfest at some point in the fight with Pacquiao, it’s inevitable, according to Roach.
“Once he gets hit, he will go there,” Roach said. “It’s part of his nature that you can’t take away form people. When you hit Bradley, he will fight back. He’s a brave guy, he’s got balls and will fight back…and that might be his downfall. I’m sure his trainer is trying to get him to box all the time but he’s hard-headed.”
Roach also believes that Bradley is not as dangerous as he was in the first fight, mostly because of the punishment he took in his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov.
“Bradley is more vulnerable than before,” Roach said. “I don’t know if he can take the kind of shots he took in that fight again.”