MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is convinced that undefeated American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. will give him one of the hardest challenges in his illustrious career when they meet on June 9 in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt against Bradley, who will be fighting in that weight class for the first time in his career.
In an interview with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, Pacquiao revealed that he is expecting a hard fight.
“Some people say he’s not a threat. What’s your take on Tim Bradley?” Leonard asked.
“He’s undefeated, he’s strong. This kind of fight, you cannot underestimate him,” Pacquiao said. “He’s strong and he’s a good fighter, so I consider this fight as one of my hardest fights.”
The interview was conducted in Pacquiao's last trip to the US, but was uploaded only yesterday.
Still happy to be a boxer
In the wide-ranging interview, Leonard noted that like Pacquiao, he was also involved in various commercials and TV shows during his heyday, which took some of his focus away from his boxing career.
But Pacquiao said that despite his numerous responsibilities outside the ring, he was still happy to continue with his chosen sport.
“I have a lot of responsibility. I need to give to my family, and of course the fans, my work and the job in the office,” he said, referring to his position as a member of the House of Representatives.
“But I’m still happy continuing my boxing career,” Pacquiao added. “You have to focus first, and give time to your family, and then the rest...”
“That’s your job, your responsibility of being a boxer, being a politician, responsibility to the fans. You have to manage your time.”
When asked about his work as a politician and a public servant, Pacquiao told Leonard that it was something that made him “relaxed and very happy.”
“I’m happy to help people, especially when you help them and they’re very thankful and they’re happy, it feels good,” he said. “Even if you’re busy or you’re tired, it makes you relaxed and very happy and I want to do that.”
“What God made me in boxing, I believe I can do as a public servant. I can be a champion in being a public servant,” Pacquiao added.
Pacquiao admitted that when he started his boxing career, he never imagined that he will one day be known as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
“I can’t imagine that it was ever going to be like this,” Pacquiao said, then added that he used to watch Leonard’s bouts before he became a boxer.
“I was just watching you. I have the VHS tapes – not really the DVD, just VHS – and I saw a lot of fights of yours before, and now I’m meeting you,” he said.
Pacquiao said that he was honored and amazed to meet not only Leonard, but also other legendary boxers like George Foreman and Evander Holyfield.
“I always praise God and give thanks for the blessings he has given to me. I’m so happy with what I have done right now,” he said.