by Ronnie Nathanielsz
The mood in Team Pacquiao is upbeat and the consensus is best reflected by Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz who told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, “we don’t need a win. We need a knockout!”
Koncz, who has been with Pacquiao for the past nine years, has consistently maintained that a win, no matter how lopsided, won’t help reinstate Pacquiao among the roster of elite fighters in the world.
Koncz told BoxingScene/Standard in an overseas telephone conversation from Las Vegas that Pacquiao “needs to erase all doubts” about his status as one of the greatest fighters of all-time and the best way to achieve that is by scoring “a spectacular knockout” over WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley in their eagerly awaited rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena later tonight.
The Top Rank fight card will be telecast by Solar Sports and GMA 7 beginning at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow (Sunday).
Koncz expressed confidence that Pacquiao would be able to also deliver on trainer Freddie Roach’s wish for a knockout to erase the painful memory of their first fight when Bradley won a universally condemned split decision because of the inexplicable scorecards of judges Cynthia Ross and Duane Ford who had Bradley winning 115-113 while Jerry Roth had Pacquiao the winner by a similar margin.
Bradley and his trainer Joel Diaz have tried to get under Pacquiao’s skin with Bradley insisting he won the first fight by eight rounds to four and that Pacquiao had lost his killer instinct and his power while Diaz claimed the rematch would see the end of Pacquiao’s career.
Koncz believes Bradley’s comments “put a fire under Manny” and while he “proved to the world that he’s back” after a superb display against former lightweight champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios last November 24 in Macau, he “didn’t see the desire to knock somebody out.”
Given the prevalent mood around the rematch, Koncz believes Pacquiao “needs to put an exclamation mark and show the world that if Manny puts his mind to it he has all the tools he had five years ago and while he’s getting older, he’s getting smarter, fighting a much more intelligent fight and not wasting energy.”
Koncz insisted “against Bradley, a knockout is in order.”
Koncz said he is “not worried about Manny’s power which is still there” even as he indicated that the “Fighter of the Decade” needs to be aggressive and revealed that he expects Bradley to run and try to outbox Pacquiao but that after the first four or five rounds Pacquiao will hunt him down and catch him and “knock him out with a body shot, not a head shot because Bradley can take a punch to the chin.”
He said Pacquiao who has trained harder than ever under Roach and returning strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune “is mentally fine.”
Koncz who was the first to draw promoter Arum’s attention to the fact that the MGM Grand had plastered promotional material for the Floyd Mayweather Jr- Marcos Maidana fight on May 5 all over the arena told us “it was a slap in the face” and as a result the MGM Grand has “lost us forever.”