Manny Pacquiao wants decisive win against Timothy Bradley
The Filipino wants to prove to the world that he didn't deserve to lose the first fight to Bradley
Manny Pacquiao wants a decisive victory over Timothy Bradley in their eagerly anticipated welterweight world title rematch this weekend in Las Vegas as he bids to avenge a controversial loss two years ago.
America's Bradley snapped the Philippine icon's 15-fight unbeaten streak with a debatable split decision triumph in their first showdown on June 9, 2012.
The 30-year-old Bradley is out to prove he was deserving of the World Boxing Organisation belt he seized that night and has since defended twice.
For Pacquiao, 35, whose loss to Bradley was followed by a sixth-round knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez, it's imperative he prove his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios in his only fight of 2013 marked a real rebirth.
"This is a must-win situation for us," Pacquiao's Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said.
Even though Roach and "Pacman" want a clear-cut victory, both said Pacquiao can't go in aiming for a knockout.
Instead, they say he must press his attack consistently, avoiding the fallow minutes that apparently cost him the decision in the first Bradley fight, even though Pacquiao landed more punches and more power punches overall.
"I'm not thinking about a knockout," the Filipino said. "My focus is to throw a lot of punches. I'm going to be aggressive. If the knockout comes, it's a bonus."
Added Roach: "We're looking to win every round, one at a time."
Pacquiao staked his claim to boxing's pound-for-pound crown with a spate of impressive knockout victories in 2008 and 2009.
Debate has raged as to whether he has lost his knockout power, or perhaps become too "compassionate" after a deepening of his Catholic faith.
"Manny can punch - he does have knockout power," Roach insisted as the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena drew near.
If Pacquiao has held back out of compassion for his foes, Roach said he'd likely learned his lesson in his most recent defeats.
Bradley's durability is one reason not to seek a knock-out, Roach said.
"He's a very resilient, tough, tough guy," Roach said.
But Roach believes that Pacquiao has the skill to cope with Bradley's slick movement, and showed against Rios that he can still put together long combinations that will make the difference against the counter-punching Bradley.
"We're using a lot of angles and hopefully that will nullify his defence," Roach said. "We'll set traps, catch him on the ropes - when we have him on the ropes, Manny knows what to do."
And if the chance to knock out Bradley does come, Roach believes Pacquiao will take it without hesitation, fired by Bradley's pre-fight claim that Pacquiao had lost his "killer instinct".
"He told me one day, 'when I hurt him, this is the combination I'm going to finish him with.'
"I was so happy to hear that."