When former junior welterweight champion Timothy “The Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO’s) first battled former eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO’s) in 2012, he was awarded a split decision that many observers and fans felt he did not deserve. In the second bout, demons from the first encounter continued to haunt him resulting in a performance he wasn’t satisfied with.
This time around Bradley says, he’ll have his head on straight, ready to perform at his absolute best in order to score a legitimate victory over the Filipino ring icon.
“It’s just experience. This time is a lot easier than the first time, I can tell you that much,” said Bradley.
“The second time, I was dealing with demons from the first match. I felt that I was trying to get a knockout. You can’t go in the ring looking for a knockout, it’s just gotta happen. So I was out of my game, I was out of my element mentally.”
Pacquiao and Bradley fought to a split decision in 2012, with Bradley taking home the victory in one of the most hotly disputed results in boxing history. Ringside judges stood firm in their ruling, amounting to tremendous backlash from fans and media alike. Pacquiao winning handily was near consensus despite the way the cards read.
In the rematch almost two years later, Pacquiao boxed similar to the way he did in the first bout but this time, he was able to clinch a unanimous decision in a thorough performance.
“It’s pain. I’m serious, man. It’s agony, it’s pain. Every single day, working out, training — that’s not fun,” Bradley told reporters during his media day workouts last week.
“Training is not fun. The fight night is fun! And the outcome, if you get the outcome that you’re training to do (sic), that’s when it’s fun. That’s when it means something.”
In preparation for the third bout, Bradley believes he’s a lot more relaxed climbing into the ring with Pacquiao, who was once universally recognized the world over as pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world.
“You gotta go through the storm. You gotta go through all the media. You gotta go through all of this yourself,” said Bradley, about the mental aspect of a big fight.
“You gotta go though all the mental preparation to get ready for this battle, because let me tell you – time, that’s the difference between being a champion and being a regular fighter.
“Even the best in the sport – most people can’t deal with the time and waiting for that time, that date – April 9th – most people can’t deal with that.”
Saturday night, April 9, 2016 (Sunday, April 10 Manila) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Pacquiao and Bradley will attempt to settle the score in a highly-anticipated rubber match. The bout is scheduled for 12 rounds in the welterweight division where both Pacquiao and Bradley were once titleholders. This time, they’re not fighting for a belt, but for an all-important tie-breaking point that will separate the two in the pages of boxing history.
“The week of the fight — most people can’t deal sitting in that hotel room and getting asked all these questions constantly. That’s a hard thing to do when the pressure is on, the heat is on, the lights are bright — a lot of people can’t deal with that,” said Bradley, about the mental difficulties of competing at the elite level.
“This time around I think that I’m more calm.”. – By Carlos Cinco
Follow this writer on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB