MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach is confident that his prized ward, Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, will put on a stellar performance in his title defense against unbeaten boxer Timothy Bradley on June 9.
Pacquiao will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt against the undefeated Bradley, who will move up in weight to challenge the Filipino champion.
Before the start of training camp, Roach was concerned that Pacquiao’s recent renewal of faith will temper his aggression inside the boxing ring, but the trainer now says this will not be the case.
“I was a little bit worried about compassion and so forth, but the way he’s sparring and the way hje’s hitting me on the mitts, I mean, he hits me sometimes he says sorry, and then he hits me again,” Roach said.
“Nothing’s really changed there, and he understands boxing is a sport and that’s the one he chose. He’ll have no problem knocking this guy out and he won’t be compassionate,” he guaranteed.
But Roach is also not underestimating Bradley, who is very determined to end Pacquiao’s reign on top of the boxing world.
“One thing about Bradley – he won’t quit, and he’ll keep coming,” Roach said. “Bradley is a very tough guy. He’s very tough, but being a tough guy doesn’t win fights.”
Pacquiao is entering the final phase of his training camp, and Roach said he made some changes by bringing in new sparring partners for the Filipino.
“I brought him four new sparring partners, all fresh guys and nobody that he’s sparred with before, nobody he’s friendly with,” Roach said.
Meanwhile, Top Rank chief executive officer Bob Arum believes Pacquiao’s renewed faith is doing wonders for the boxer as well.
“In prior fights, in the last few at night when he left here, he would go out to casinos, he would run around. Even though he has super human stamina, it showed on his face,” Arum said.
“Very often, when he came into the gym, he’d look like a tired person. Now you look at him, and his face is a lot fresher. He’s more relaxed and he’s getting more sleep,” he added.
“It seems to me it’s reflected in his performance in the ring.” – Report from Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News North America.