Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum believes unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. is an even better boxer now than he was when he first fought Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in June 2012.
Bradley memorably – and controversially – defeated Pacquiao when they fought two years ago, receiving a split decision that few felt he deserved.
They will meet again in a rematch on April 12, this time with Bradley defending the WBO welterweight belt that he won off Pacquiao.
Speaking to Tha Boxing Voice, Arum opined that Bradley has improved greatly since 2012 especially after being involved in big fights against Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez last year.
“There is no question that Tim Bradley is a much, much better, more confident fighter now than he was in 2012 when he fought Pacquiao,” said Arum.
He also noted that Bradley has changed as a fighter, becoming more fan-friendly.
“Timothy Bradley has proven what an exciting fighter he is on his two victories in 2013,” he said. “(He had the) fight of the year with Ruslan Provodnikov, which he won, and the great battle with Juan Manuel Marquez, another victory for Bradley.”
But Arum said Pacquiao is still perfectly capable of dealing with the much improved Bradley, by using his “smart aggression.”
“He has to go in, throw those left handed punches, step with some rights, then disappear before he can be countered,” said the promoter.