MANILA, Philippines – Respected boxing trainer Robert Garcia expects to see a competitive fight when Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. meet for a second time on April 12, and refuses to pick a winner.
Garcia, who trains former Pacquiao opponent Brandon Rios, Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana, as well as Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, told Boxing Scene that the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch was essentially a "pick 'em fight."
"I think this time, it's going to be a lot closer," he said.
Bradley had controversially won the first fight in June 2012, although Garcia – like most boxing fans and analysts – remains convinced that Pacquiao was the rightful winner.
Going into the rematch, however, he is unsure if Pacquiao should be favored.
"This time, Bradley's on a winning streak," he pointed out. "Right now, Bradley knows that he's unstoppable. He just beat (Juan Manuel) Marquez, and he's on a winning streak."
"I think this time's going to be a lot closer. It's going to be a fight that I can't pick the winner right now," he added.
Garcia saw for himself how Pacquiao snapped a two-fight losing streak by beating Rios last November, and the trainer admitted that the "Pacman" was impressive.
"I think he looked good. He looked fast. He looked strong," said Garcia, who quickly added that Pacquiao’s performance still did not prove that he had returned to an elite level.
"This is the fight where he has to do it," he said. "It's Timothy Bradley, and he really has to do it. This is pretty much not his last fight, but (it is) the fight that he needs to win and prove everybody wrong."