Bradley clings to his narrative of change
LAS VEGAS—Timothy Bradley has clung to the narrative of his reinvented self in every publicity push he has been involved in for his third battle with Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at MGM Grand here.
Freddie Roach has heard it many times before. Too many times, in fact.
“Everybody knows I made changes in my training camp,” Bradley said during his official welcome on Tuesday morning. Later, he told journalists that having trainer Teddy Atlas around gives him an edge because Atlas has studied Pacquiao with an analyst’s eye and knows exactly what Bradley needs to execute for him to pull off what would generally be labeled an upset.
“I know [Pacquiao’s] power; I know his speed,” Bradley said. “But he doesn’t know what I’m going to do. It will be substantially different this time.”
Told about Bradley’s latest statement, Roach replied dryly: “Yeah, sure.”
Roach continues to doubt that Bradley is a changed fighter, setting the stage for what could be an interesting final press conference on Wednesday also at MGM Grand, when the boxers and trainers will get the chance to try and sell the fight that has been predicted to draw modest returns—and maybe spice up the Saturday showdown with some verbal fireworks.
Pacquiao, too, doesn’t think Bradley would be much improved, and instead feels that he will try to bring something different into the fight.
“I’m not saying he has improved,” Pacquiao said. “I think he has a new style, different from the last two fights.”
Both Pacquiao and Bradley worked out on Tuesday in preparation for the fight. Bradley continued to work on changing the tactics he employed when he lost to Pacquiao in their second bout and build on whatever gains he had when he won a roundly criticized decision in their first fight.
“It was flawed,” he said. “I went in there thinking I had to knock him out instead of outboxing him like I did in the first fight. We figured the judges weren’t going to give us a break after what happened the first time.
“But looking back on it, that was the wrong thing to do.”
Pacquiao, meanwhile, breezed through the afternoon training with Roach intently watching from ringside to make sure he didn’t overdo his workout.
“We don’t want to lose the fight in the gym,” Roach told the Inquirer.
Pacquiao said he was working hard to put on a flamboyant show, one reminiscent of the days when he cut across weight classes on the way to become the sport’s only eight-division champion. Pacquiao has said this would be his last fight and added he wants to ride into retirement on the saddle of a blazing victory to further cement his legacy.
“I want an explosive performance and to win convincingly,” he said.
“I want to make fans happy and bring honor [to] the country,” Pacquiao said, adding “that will be my legacy.”
For Bradley, this could be his lone shot at a career super highlight.
“This is my shot,” Bradley said. “If I don’t do it Saturday, I never will.”
Pacquiao is expected to do another light workout after Wednesday’s press conference. He is still so much under the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, but he doesn’t seem too worried about that right now. Bradley, on the other hand, is a few pounds over the limit but expects to be on the dot when he takes the scales on Friday at MGM Grand Arena.