by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Fighter of the Decade Manny continues his relentless training at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in preparation for his eagerly awaited rematch against undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 12.
As he goes about training to avenge his universally criticized split decision loss to Bradley in June 2012 when two judges were blasted for scoring the fight for Bradley, Pacquiao has made it clear he isn’t worried about the judges for the rematch although Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has requested the Nevada State Athletic Commission to appoint so-called neutral judges and at least two from outside Nevada.
But Pacquiao remained unconcerned telling an international conference call “I am not thinking about the judges. I always believe in the decision of the judges. What I want to do is focus in the ring and focus on the strategy and techniques that we practice in the gym.”
That’s exactly what Pacquiao did in sparring eleven rounds yesterday according to his adviser Michael Koncz .
Koncz told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that “after a good run in the morning Manny sparred four rounds with hard-hitting light welterweight Julian Rodriguez, three rounds with former world junior lightweight champion Steve Forbes and four rounds with undefeated Lydell Rhodes whose style is very much like Bradley.
Koncz said “it was good, fast-paced sparring.”
In response to a question about Bradley’s claim that he had lost his killer instinct and his punching power Pacquiao said “I assure you I still have the hunger to win and my desire to win is as strong now as it has ever been. His (Bradley’s) talk about me has inspired me. It has provided me great motivation in my training.”
Roach took the same stance as Pacquiao about the bad decision in their first fight. He said “I don’t get mad. Its part of life, winning and losing. Revenge is great and that’s what we have a chance to do here. We get to reverse that bad decision and get the win here, Hopefully, if everything goes well and we fight the right fight we will knock this guy out.”
Pacquiao has told us that aggression will be the key in his rematch with Bradley and Roach believes “we need to be fighting aggressive three minuets of every round and if we fight at a fast pace like that we’ll be able to stop Bradley somewhere during the middle rounds.”
However, Roach emphasized they won’t go looking for a knockout “because if you do that it’s not going to happen. It’s a little bit of a bonus. Knockouts come with combinations. 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 but we are not going in there looking for a knockout because again, if you go in there looking for a knockout you’ll be waiting all night.”
Arum, in pursuing his request for neutral judges revealed that Top Rank had circulated to both camps a long list of proposed judges and given the camps the opportunity to knock off referees and judges. He said that the NSAC has no executive director (as a replacement for Keith Kizer who resigned some months ago) and Arum plans to call Chairman Cisco Aguilar to give him the results of the input from both camps and then I think the Commission has a meeting in early April where they will actually select the referee and judges.”