American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. may be impressed with Manny Pacquiao’s improvement on defense in his fight against Brandon Rios last year, but he also wondered openly if the Filipino is losing his vaunted punching power.
Pacquiao was impressive in routing Rios over 12 rounds, using his footwork and speed to keep the American off-balance. He also tagged Rios with several clean shots, but although “Bam Bam” was staggered, he never dropped.
“Pacquiao looked good in the Rios fight,” Bradley, who is fighting Pacquiao again on April 12, told Boxing Scene. “Rios is a tough dude, man. Rios can fight. He comes in and brings the pain. He’s no slouch in there, and he’s got a good chin.”
Even so, Bradley was surprised that Pacquiao could not drop Rios even once.
“I was surprised that he couldn’t stagger Rios or hurt him. I was very surprised, so I don’t know if his power is still there,” he said. “He hit Rios with some clean punches, man, and Rios was still there.”
“(His) defense got a little better, his movement got better, and he actually used his legs in the fight,” Bradley added.
Bradley commended the way Pacquiao thoroughly out-boxed Rios, saying it showed that the Filipino is still capable of fighting at a very high level.
“He showed really good movement. Rios came forward, and he was really aggressive, so Pacquiao couldn’t stand there because Rios is a big puncher,” said Bradley. “So he boxed, he moved, he used his legs. He fought on angles.”
“He still looked crisp to me. He still got the boxing ability. His boxing ability is there, man. He’s still one of the best fighters in the world,” he added.
“He still competes at the highest level, and he wants to prove that by beating me and getting his championship back.”
While Bradley was impressed with Pacquiao’s performance against Rios, he is far more confident about his own skills and his ability to defeat Pacquiao in their rematch.
“I’m always confident, man. I’m always confident that I’m gonna win, and this is no different. I’m confident that I can beat Manny. I feel that I have every tool and every edge to beat him,” he said.