by Ronnie Nathanielsz
"Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao won’t leave the decision in his rematch against WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley in the judges hands when they clash at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 12.
Pacquiao learned a bitter lesson in their first encounter when two of the three judges, the notorious CJ Ross and Duane Ford scored the fight for Bradley who won a universally criticized split decision.
Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he was convinced Pacquiao won the first fight “pretty convincingly” and that this time around Pacquiao plans to take the fight “out of the judges hands.”
Roach said Pacquiao “is very motivated and is working very hard and the way he's going its possible" to eliminate the judges from the equation.
Roach noted that Brsdley “has never been knocked out. He's been knocked down and hurt but he's a tough guy and if a knockout comes that will be a bonus."
Team Pacquiao was scheduled to land at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International Terminal at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday.
To Roach and even Pacquiao, Bradley did them a favor when he told Pacquiao "you lost your fire, the killer instinct and I will beat you."
Roach recalled that "Manny didn't like it at all.” He said that “overall Bradley is a nice kid but its not about being nice in there. Its a knockout sport and if Manny hits him, he'll finish him this time."
After two weeks of training at the Pacman Wild Card Gym in Manny’s hometown of General Santos City before they left for Los Angeles to begin almost one month of intense sparring at Roach’s Wild Card Gym, he noted that Pacquiao's "speed and power is really good. I am very happy. Manny is way ahead of schedule."
He said after four weeks at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles and one week in Las Vegas, "it will be the best Manny we've seen."
The masterful display against Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios in Macau last November 24 when Pacquiao won a near shutout twelve round decision was, in the eyes of Roach, "a great performance. He fought three minutes of every round, he threw a lot of combinations and he might have taken him (Rios) out after he hurt him a couple of times but Manny didn't want to take any chances after his KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. I was very happy the way the fight went."
Roach disclosed that should Pacquiao win as he expects, Marquez "might be next" pointing out "we owe him something" following Pacquiao's 6th round KO loss in December 2012.
Reminded that Marquez had often said he won't fight Pacquiao a fifth time and reflecting on the Mexican's recent change of heart, Roach said "he must need the money."
Pacquiao was in awesome form in his last sparring sessions when he bloodied and shook undefeated sparring partner Llydell Rhodes (19-0, 9 KO’s) in some explosive moments during seven rounds of sparring after which Pacquiao went through his entire routine including nine furious rounds on the punch-mitts during which he perfected the moves he laid on Oscar De La Hoya when he pulverized "The Golden Boy" and forced him to quit on his stool after seven rounds.
Despite his lengthy and energy-sapping workout Pacquiao played three games of basketball which was a testament to his excellent physical condition.
Roach told us he will "mix it up a little" once former WBO welterweight champion Kendall Holt who lost his title to Bradley despite dropping him in the first and last rounds and former lightweight champion Steve Forbes as well as Speedy Gonzalez join as sparring partners next week.
He said Holt "gives us the power and will exchange at times,Gonzalez will give us the speed and Forbes will give us the best look as a boxer and he's more intelligent."
Roach added that “the real business begins on Monday at Wild Card. We have great sparring waiting for Manny. He wants that title back. If Bradley thinks he’s going to see the same compassionate Manny he saw the first time they fought he is in for a very big surprise.”