Undefeated super middleweight champion Andre Ward believes welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr. has the competitive fire and intangibles needed to once again defeat Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley controversially defeated Pacquiao when they fought in June 2012 in a highly contested split decision. A rematch has been reportedly set for April, although Pacquiao’s promoters at Top Rank said the deal has yet to be finalized.
Ward, an unbeaten American who counts Bradley as a friend, stressed in an On the Ropes Boxing Radio interview that “Desert Storm” should not be counted out if the rematch does push through.
“You would think that after he beat Pacquiao, regardless of what you had to say about that win, and after he beat (Juan Manuel) Marquez the way that he did, that he would be the guy,” Ward said of Bradley.
“(You would think) that Timothy Bradley would get the respect that he deserves, and he still doesn’t,” he added.
Ward believes that this perceived lack of respect will fire up Bradley in a potential rematch against the “Pacman.”
“That’s the material, that’s the fuel that people don’t realize push guys like Timothy Bradley to go above and beyond what people think he’s gonna do,” Ward said. “So to answer the question, I got to favor my friend, I got to favor Timothy Bradley.”
“(It’s) not necessarily with X’s and O’s and strategy, but just the desire, man,” Ward added. “I feel he has a desire that can’t be denied, and he has the intangibles that you can’t put your finger on.”
Ward also believes that Bradley is one of the few active fighters who truly mean it when they say that they are willing to “die in the ring.”
“You hear a lot of fighters say that, ‘I’ll die in the ring, I’ll do this and I’ll do that,’” said the champion. “And I think he is one of those guys who are willing to go to that place to get a victory.”
“I think he’s willing to go to whatever place he needs to go to not lose what he’s earned, and that’s his reputation, that’s his undefeated record and the status that he has,” Ward added.
After his victory over Pacquiao, Bradley was widely jeered by boxing fans who felt that he did not deserve the decision. He gained appreciation in his next fight, however, when he went toe-to-toe with Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov and won a slim unanimous decision. Later in 2013, he also beat Mexican legend Marquez to keep the WBO welterweight title.