By Keith Idec
Timothy Bradley realizes Manny Pacquiao is 37 and hasn’t scored a knockout in more than six years.
Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) still doesn’t expect a lesser version of Pacquiao to show up April 9 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas than the first two times they fought.
“I’m not depending on Manny Pacquiao to be weak in any way,” Bradley said on a recent conference call. “I think he’s gonna be strong and I think he’s gonna be highly motivated, and he’s gonna be looking to take my head off.”
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), once one of boxing’s biggest knockout artists, hasn’t knocked out an opponent since he stopped Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) in the 12th round of their welterweight title fight in November 2009 at MGM Grand.
“He hasn’t knocked anybody out in a very long time,” Bradley said. “It could be the weight. It could be the weight class. He is at 147 pounds. It could be that, but I’m not depending on any decline in Manny Pacquiao. I’m not depending on any of those things.
“I beat Manny Pacquiao, I already know what’s gonna be said. ‘Oh, he was old. He was over the hill. He was this. He was that.’ I already know what it’s gonna be.’ If I lose to Manny Pacquiao, ‘Oh, he’s still great. He can still fight. He’s still this.’ I know how it goes.”
The 32-year-old Bradley beat Pacquiao by split decision in their first fight, but the outcome of that June 2012 match at MGM Grand is commonly considered one of the worst decisions in boxing history. Pacquiao defeated Bradley decisively in their rematch and won a unanimous decision in April 2014 at MGM Grand.
Their rubber match two weeks from Saturday will mark Pacquiao’s first fight since suffering a unanimous-decision defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. (49-0, 26 KOs) on May 2 at MGM Grand.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.