Atlas remark made Pacquiao ‘cautious’
LAS VEGAS—Did Teddy Atlas get into the head of Manny Pacquiao during Saturday night’s fight?
Several interviews of Timothy Bradley Jr.’s celebrated trainer in the leadup to the Pacquiao-Bradley III had centered on how he shaped his game plan around videos of the fights Pacquiao had against Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Atlas talked of how he wanted Bradley to read the “signs before the storm” and predict Pacquiao’s intent by watching his habits.
Marquez did just that on Dec. 8, 2012 when he read Pacquiao’s foot feints and timed the Filipino’s 1-2 to sneak in a desperate looping right hand that put a period to their long-standing rivalry.
The possibility that Atlas’ remarks got into Pacquiao’s psyche rose when one looks at the punch statistics and listens to trainer Freddie Roach talk about how much more Pacquiao had to give than what he showed at MGM Grand.
“I know he’s very much capable of throwing so much more combinations, 8- to 9-shot combinations,” said Roach.
“He showed that in training. So I was quite surprised when he would do only 1-2-3 or sometimes throw in a fourth in combinations.”
The restrained punching led to remarkably lower punch stats when compared to their previous bouts.
Pacquiao threw a total of 439 punches while Bradley threw 302. Their combined total was less than what Pacquiao threw (751) in their first outing in 2012.
While Pacquiao had certainly aged, the fact that he was active in training proved that being 37 years old had nothing to do with his lessened activity Saturday night.
Maybe Atlas pronouncements brought up the ghosts of Marquez past. And it might have worked, based on Pacquiao’s limited combinations Saturday night.
What left Team Bradley stumped was how Pacquiao reinvented his strategy, opting to lure Bradley inside instead of pressing the attack, thereby leaving the American with no chance to predict his next move.