by Nick Giongco
Don’t take Freddie Roach wrong because the Hall of Fame trainer believes Timothy Bradley is a hell of a fighter.
While Roach has instructed Manny Pacquiao to assume the role of a cold-blooded assassin come April 12 in Las Vegas, the 54-year-old Wild Card guru insists Bradley is not the type to be taken for granted.
“Bradley is a very tough guy. He takes good shots. He has a good chin. He fought concussed against Ruslan (Provodnikov) and he didn’t know where he was – I don’t know if that’s a good think or a bad thing – I don’t know if that will show in this fight but if Manny puts enough pressure on him and land some hard shots it will affect him and I think it will be in our favor,” said Roach during a teleconference call Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday in Manila).
Roach has been forced to approach the rematch with a different perspective as he aims to turn Pacquiao into a wrecking ball instead of a compassionate puncher he has become as of late.
But Roach thinks it would be foolish to go into the fight thinking of a knockout because “if you go in there looking for a knockout, you’ll be waiting all night.”
“We don’t go into fights looking for knockouts, if you do that it’s not going to happen. Knockouts come with combinations – it’s a little bit of a bonus and the thing is we are going to fight this fight our way. We plan to beat him every round and if a knockout comes, it comes.”
The first they met in June 2012, Bradley was awarded a hotly-contested split decision, something that Pacquiao has learned to accept.
Two years have gone by and Roach still puts Bradley on a pedestal.
“He has always had a lot of heart. He’s just a very willing guy and he is in very good shape. For his fights he does what he is supposed to do. He boxed well against (Juan Manuel) Marquez and he beat a good fighter. What he will bring to the table against Manny is what he brought against Marquez – he likes to exchange a little bit also, so when we get into an exchange we will have to take advantage of that moment.”
Pacquiao went further in assessing the 30-year-old Bradley, who the fighting congressman thinks remains the same.