American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. is marveling at the humility and compassion of his April 12 opponent, Manny Pacquiao, even as he wonders if these qualities will also lead to the Filipino legend’s downfall.
Bradley will defend his WBO welterweight title against the “Pacman” on April 12 in Las Vegas, almost two years since he controversially won the belt off the Filipino via a dubious split decision.
“At the face off, he couldn’t even say that he wanted to knock me out, that he was gonna knock me out,” Bradley said in an interview during their Los Angeles press conference. “I don’t even know what to call it, man.”
“He was just so… humbled. He believed in what he believes in. He’s a real man,” added Bradley.
Bradley believes that it may have been this compassion that compelled Pacquiao to refrain from knocking out Brandon Rios in their match last November, even though he had “Bam Bam” hurt numerous times.
“He wasn’t really willing to take chances like I normally see him do,” Bradley said, even as he acknowledged that Pacquiao fought a “smart fight.” “When he sees a guy hurt or stunned, he’ll go after him (but he didn’t against Rios). That’s the compassion of Manny, and I still think he’s like that.”
Bradley said Pacquiao still has the skills that made him one of the best fighters in the world, but the Filipino’s compassionate nature may end up working in the American’s favor.
“Like I said, he’s very compassionate, man, and he still has all the skill sets. He can still fight like hell, he still can move, he still has it all. He hasn’t lost his gifts at all,” Bradley said.
“But you know, I just feel like the killer instinct is gone, man, I just think it’s gone,” he said.
Pacquiao, for his part, vowed to show that he can still fight aggressively when he faces off against Bradley.
He acknowledged, however, that he needs to make adjustments to his fighting style to accommodate the improvements made by the American since their first fight.
“I have a game plan for his style,” Pacquiao told Fox Sports. “He has improved a lot since we had our first fight, and I have to adjust my style and my techniques, because he has improved a lot and he’s more experienced now.”