Manny Pacquiao wants a decisive victory over Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The two meet in an eagerly anticipated welterweight title rematch and the Filipino is eager to avenge a controversial defeat of two years ago. Bradley, renowned for his durability, snapped the former eight-division champion’s 15-fight unbeaten streak with a debatable split-decision triumph on 9 June 2012.
The 30-year-old American is out to prove he deserved the WBO belt he seized that night and has since defended twice.
For Pacquiao, 35, it is imperative to prove his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios in his only fight last year marked a real rebirth of his ring career after his knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez.
"This is a must-win situation for us," Pacquiao's Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said on Thursday.
Roach wants Pacquiao to press his attack consistently, avoiding the fallow minutes that probably cost him the decision in the first fight, even though Pacquiao landed more punches and more power punches overall than Bradley did.
"I'm not thinking about a knockout," the Filipino said. "My focus is to throw a lot of punches. I'm going to be aggressive. If the knockout comes, it's a bonus."
Added Roach: "We're looking to win every round, one at a time."
Debate has raged as to whether he has lost his knockout power, or perhaps become too compassionate towards opponents after a deepening of his Catholic faith.
"Manny can punch; he does have knockout power," Roach insisted on Thursday as the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena drew near. "Bradley's ability to absorb punches is one reason not to seek a knockout. He is a very resilient, tough, tough guy."
"We're using a lot of angles and hopefully that will nullify his defense. We'll set traps, catch him on the ropes … when we have him on the ropes, Manny knows what to do. When we're on the mitts we talk sometimes about strategy and what's going to happen. He told me one day: 'When I hurt him, this is the combination I'm going to finish him with.' I was so happy to hear that."