Three weeks into his training camp at the Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, Cal., Manny Pacquiao can feel a power surge leading to his mega match against welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on April 12.
The Filipino sensation said he will make Bradley regret questioning whether he had lost his killer instinct and his ability to knockout an opponent. When they met two years ago Bradley won a controversial 12-round split decision against Pacquiao and took away his WBO welterweight championship.
“Everything I am doing in training camp is aimed at proving to him just how wrong he is,’’ Pacquiao said. “I have all the respect for Bradley and what he has accomplished but I have no fear of him. He has inspired me to exceed my previous performances inside the ring. If Bradley wants to meet the fighter who stopped Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, he's going to get his wish on April 12.’’
The Pacquiao KO was a staple of his arsenal as he made his way from featherweight to welterweight, winning five world championships along the way. But Pacquiao hasn’t knocked out an opponent since he stopped Miguel Cotto in 2009. That is a drought that has stretched through seven fights and included matches against the likes of Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez (twice) and Antonio Margarito.
Roach said the 35-year-old Pacquiao is still capable of delivering the knockout punch. But he has to be motivated to do it.
“It’s been four years now since we had a knockout,’’ Roach said. “I told Manny that’s why your pay days are getting lower and that’s why the Pay-Per-View audience isn’t as good. You tell me that you want to give the people what they want to see and the people want to see knockouts. I’ve got that going for me also. I think it really sunk in when Bradley told him that he doesn’t have the killer instinct. He did me a huge favor.’’
Pacquiao drew criticism in some corners for failing to knock out Brandon Rios in his last fight. He battered Rios from ring post to ring post, but he never pushed the issue to stop Rios.
“I was very happy with my performance against Brandon Rios,’’ Pacquiao said. “Speed has always been a major weapon for me and I used it throughout the fight against Rios for one simple reason: it was working. The power is still there and I used it effectively against Rios to keep him off balance.
“Freddie and I came up with the game plan to mix things up against Rios. I would utilize my speed and foot movement in boxing him to keep him off balance, then when he would come in out of frustration, I would land the power punches.’’
Some think that Pacquiao may be a little more timid in the ring after getting knocked out by Marquez a year ago. In that fight he learned that he can be aggressive, but he has to be patient as well.
“When I had him teetering, I became reckless and went in to finish him. I was careless and he landed the perfect punch. That was learning a lesson the hard way but I learned it. I still have the killer instinct,’’ Pacquiao said.
“I am not afraid to use my power and go for the knockout but I will remember the lesson I learned from my last fight with Marquez. Knockouts need to come naturally; you should not force them. But Freddie likes knockouts and I like to make Freddie happy.’’