By Luis Sandoval
When Manny Pacquiao faces WBO Welterweight champion Timothy Bradley on April 12th, it will be one of Pacquiao’s most important fights. While Manny bounced back after his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 with a victory over Brandon Rios, there are still many who wonder if Manny is still the same fighter he once was.
One of the people who has voiced that same opinion is none other than Pacquaio’s opponent Timothy Bradley. During their HBO Face Off episode, Bradley openly told Manny he didn’t feel he still had the hunger and fire he once had. While Manny simply shrugged off his opponents comments and smiled, trainer Freddie Roach revealed those comments did get to Manny and its fired him up.
“It bothers Manny quite [a bit]. I think more than he lets us know because first thing he told me was ‘can you believe what he said to me?’ He repeated it word for word. And I said ‘well Manny, now you have to prove to the world that it’s not true’. So I think [Bradley] motivated Manny for this fight and I think if Manny hurts him this time he will open up and try to finish him,” Roach would tell BoxingScene and other members of the media.
In the past other fighters have said not so kind things to Manny in the lead up to their bouts but according to Roach this one was different because up until now, both men had been cordial and no real trash talk had taken place. Inadvertently, Bradley may be the one lighting Manny’s fire once again.
“They’ve been like real respectful with each other all the time then all of a sudden the guy throws this stuff out there right to Manny’s face. So it’s like a slap in the face to Manny and Manny thought he was like a good guy who didn’t talk trash and wished everyone good luck. But now he’s talking a lot and payback’s a bitch,” declared Roach.
While Manny is never one to trash talk, Roach is picking up the slack for him as he had choice words for Bradley who recently revealed the reason he hurt both his ankles in the first fight was because he fought with no socks. It was something he said he Mike Tyson did and he decided to try it but it backfired the night of the fight.
“The thing is I sent [Bradley] a box of socks so he doesn’t have any excuses this time. He thought Mike Tyson fought without socks. I trained Mike Tyson and I said ‘Mike, do you really fight with no socks’ and he says ‘Do you really think I’m stupid??’. He said ‘Of course I fought with socks but I like low socks’. I said a lot of people copy you and try to wear no socks and he says ‘they’re stupid’. So that’s Mike Tyson’s version of it,” said Roach as he chuckled.
Pacquiao has returned to his old stomping grounds and he’s returned to the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood after over a year. Training has been great and intense according to both fighter and coach and they’re ready to get a victory over Bradley.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter & Instagram @Truewest007.