Ahead of the biggest fight of the year so far, Timothy Bradley's trainer, Joel Diaz, has said that his man must beat Manny Pacquiao convincingly to ensure he is given the credit that he rightly deserves.
Almost two years on from their first WBO Welterweight encounter that Bradley won thanks to a highly controversial judges decision, the pair are set to face off again at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas in a battle of redemption.
Many observers had Pacquiao as a comfortable winner two years ago and the decision attracted a lot of scrutiny.
A rematch has been long overdue and Diaz suggests that the contentious outcome of their first bout will increase the pressure on every one involved this time around.
On Boxing News, he said: “We have to win convincingly. Everyone, even the judges, will feel the pressure. If the rounds are close I expect the judges will give them to Manny. I don’t care who the judges are, I just hope they do their jobs because the pressure on their backs will be huge.
“If we lose, we lose. It will be better than what happened last time and everything that happened. We’ve been dealing with that for two years.
“We’re not like Freddie Roach, we don’t play mind games, so if Tim says he is going to be in Manny’s face, you can expect to see him in Manny’s face.”
Following their first match-up in June 2012, Bradley and his family had to deal with death threats and Diaz admits that the 30-year-old was extremely effected by the whole ordeal.
“He was very disappointed after that fight,” Diaz revealed. “He was depressed. He was emotionally hurt by the sport of boxing.
"There were times when he just wanted to cry. When a fighter wins, he should be happy. Tim wasn’t. He didn’t even want to come out of his house.
“I felt that Tim won that fight,” said Diaz. “But that doesn't feel like a victory now. The celebration that followed the decision soon became like a funeral. It was like a family member had suddenly died. It was like a tiny spark of joy, and then it was like being hit by a bus.”
But since those dark days he has seen Bradley seal impressive unanimous decision wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez that have helped in restoring the American's confidence.
Bradley's kamikaze win over Provodnikov where he went toe-to-toe with the Russian for 12 rounds revealed the fighters out-of-ring frustrations, but was also a candidate for Fight of the Year. Diaz believes that he needed that experience and is now a better fighter for it.
“We’re ready for this fight. There is no ill-effects in Tim from Provodnikov. He showed that when he beat [Juan Manuel] Marquez [last year].
"It’s all positive because he stood up to those shots from Provodnikov and they were big punches. He says Ruslan hit him like he’d never been hit before. Manny has speed, but Ruslan is the heavier hitter. We’re ready for everything.”
The undefeated champ has certainly shown what he is capable of and recently declared war on Pacquiao at the press conference to promote the fight, stating that he isn't going to just beat him, but that he is going to beat him so badly that that the outcome leaves absolutely no doubt.
Diaz hints that, two years on, perhaps Pacquiao isn't the fighter he once was. Now at 35, the Filipino boxer could be starting to feel the effects of a long career in which he has contested an impressive 60 fights. But Bradley's trainer remains adamant that he wants to see the best Pacquiao turn up on the night.
“Two years have gone by [from the first fight],” Diaz explained. “The older you get, the harder it gets. Manny Pacquiao has had 60 fights. Each of those fights have had tough training camps. He’s been knocked out. It all adds up.
"But we want the best of Pacquiao, because if we go in there and knock him out, we won’t get credit again. All we’ll hear is that Pacquiao is past his best."
Following on from a unanimous decision win that saw Pacquiao claim the vacant WBO Welterweight title against Brandon Rios last year, you could argue that talk of him being past his best is nonsense.
Although he was knocked out prior to that fight by Juan Manuel Marquez, a man that Bradley has previously beaten.
It will certainly make for an intriguing fight when the two take to the ring on Saturday, with Bradley looking to gain the respect he so desperately craves and Pacquiao hoping to erase the memory of the decision two years ago, it could be a tasty one.
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