(Transcribed by Michael Readman) The rematch between Manny Pacquiao & Timothy Bradley was almost 2 years in the making, and both fighters traveled different roads since the controversy of the fight bout. Pacquiao followed the loss to Bradley by having an exciting 6 round war with long time rival Juan Manuel Marquez, which ended with him getting shockingly KO’d in the final seconds of the 6th round. After 11 months out, Pacquiao came back to defeat Brandon Rios, but the fight still left questions.
Timothy Bradley’s win over Pacquiao led to an all-time low that saw him get threats from fans, fall into depression, but ultimately comeback to the ring for a fight of the year war with Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley followed that by defeating Juan Manuel Marquez via points, and established himself as a top 5 P4P fighter. With the rematch fast approaching, many wonder if the paths of both men will change the result.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” interview with Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach, I talk with him about the road to this rematch and if he feels the result will be any different the second time around. Roach also gives his thoughts on whether or not Pacquiao needs a knockout to win, and if he will fight the same as he did in his recent return against Brandon Rios. Additionally Freddie talks about Bradley’s two bouts since the Pacquiao fight and if he thinks Timothy has improved as a fighter since the first bout. Here is what Freddie Roach had to say.
Jenna J: Freddie, Manny Pacquiao will be having a rematch with Timothy Bradley on April 12th. How have the preparations been going so far?
Freddie Roach: Very well, we did a couple of weeks in The Philippines, that went well and now we’re back at the Wildcard and everything’s on schedule. He had a little bit of a cold yesterday but we got through it, he feels a lot better this morning. He’s gonna be one hundred percent for this fight I feel.
Jenna J: This is the fight that boxing fans actually wanted to see because there was so much controversy involving the first fight. How much did you want to see a second fight between Bradley and Pacquiao?
Freddie Roach: Well the first fight I thought we won pretty easily. But you know, since they gave Bradley the decision, you do have to avenge your losses, it’s something we have to do I think. We’re very motivated for this fight. Manny, after getting knocked out by Marquez took a year off and then looked really good in the (Brandon) Rios fight, I thought he fought a very smart fight and I expect that to carry over into this fight also.
Jenna J: Pacquiao has been working with various sparring partners, including Lydell Rhodes. What kind of sparring have you tried to get him to prepare him for Bradley this time around?
Freddie Roach: Well you know, we got guys that are running a little bit, boxing, and we got guys that are coming to us because Bradley does like to exchange at times, but since he had success boxing in his last fight, usually that carries over into the next fight.
Against Marquez he boxed very well and I feel he’s gonna try to out box us but when he gets hit he does like to fight back and that’s what we’re using the guys like Lydell for their punching power and so forth. We’ve got five different sparring partners with five different styles and they all do what Bradley does and he will be one hundred percent ready by fight time.
Jenna J: Freddie, the last fight that Pacquiao had with Brandon Rios, a lot of people watched the fight and thought he looked good but they also thought he was a little bit careful. Do you think that he didn’t take as many chances as he maybe should have in trying to get Rios out of there?
Freddie Roach: Well you know, in the previous fight he went for the KO and he walked into a shot, so he was a little bit more careful and smarter this time. I thought it was a perfect fight because he won every round. He didn’t knock the guy out but he did win every round, 12-0 it was a complete shut-out and I wish Max Kellerman had told Rios that he is a punching bag in that fight, that’s the way it looked to me.
Jenna J: Going into the rematch with Timothy Bradley, I’m sure Pacquiao doesn’t want any controversy again. Does he feel any extra pressure to go for the KO and to not leave it in the judges’ hands?
Freddie Roach: Yeah, the thing is you can’t look for knockouts and we know that, that’s not how knockouts come. We are prepared to go out there and fight three minutes of every round and fight with combinations like he did against Rios and be a lot busier than he has been in the past.
We have to be a little bit more aggressive, we know that, but the thing is we’re not going in there looking for the knockout. If the knockout comes, it comes, if it doesn’t, we’ll be happy with pitching a shutout.
Jenna J: You had two back to back fights training fighters to face Timothy Bradley, the second one being Ruslan Provodnikov. You’ve seen Bradley’s two fights since his fight with Pacquiao, do you think he is a better fighter now than he was the first time?
Freddie Roach: No, I think he’s taken a lot of damage in the Ruslan fight he fought with a concussion — he said for 9 rounds. That can’t be good for you, he took a lot of big shots in that fight. I think that when Pacquiao hits him those fights will show up. The thing is, getting hit is not a good thing and he got hit a lot in that fight.
Jenna J: Do you think Bradley gained extra confidence from beating Marquez?
Freddie Roach: Well, Marquez didn’t look that good in that fight. He must have got off his weight lifting program because he was very small. He looked really ordinary in that fight and I think he got Marquez at the right time, because I think he’s all done.
Stay tuned to ontheropesboxing.com for part 2 of the Freddie Roach interview