Manny Pacquiao arrived for his press conference looking out of the ordinary. Wearing a shiny blue suit and sporting a new haircut, he walked confidently to greet journalists.
Whatever tax troubles he may have were not apparent in his demeanor. Gone was the hangdog posture.
The world boxing champion and local politician approached the podium and went straight to the point.
“I know that there’s a big question mark in our first fight in 2012, so this time around we have to answer that,” he said at the press conference at New World Stages, where Top Rank announced the April 12 Pacquiao-Bradley rematch in Las Vegas.
“I just want to prove to Brad about what he’s saying that my killer instincts and aggressiveness (are gone)—I think he’s right—maybe I’m just too kind and nice to my opponents in the ring, but this time around I will have to make sure that I am still (on top),” he added.
Pacquiao and undefeated WBO welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley’s 2012 fight was a controversial split decision marred by allegations of fixing.
Bradley won the match after the 12th round, but boxing analysts and leagues of loyal fans argued the title should have been given to Pacquiao.
Oscar de la Hoya went on to say that Bradley should have refused the title belt as Pacquiao had won the fight.
I asked Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach and Top Rank’s Bob Arum what assurances they had that questionable decisions will not happen again.
“We’re gonna have international officials that are much bigger and better panel of judges,” Arum told The FilAm.
“Well, no assurance really,” said Roach. “Bradley said Pacquiao no longer has those killer instincts, we’ve got to show him that he does. And that motivates me. I think we’ll knock him out this time. I’m very confident that he’s going to win.”
Roach has announced that Pacquiao will have training camps in General Santos City in the Philippines, China and in Los Angeles.
Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, said sharing the ring one more time with Pacquiao was quite a privilege for his boxer.
“I feel there is an unfinished business,” he said. “Come April 12, Pacquiao and Bradley are the ones who are gonna give the people what they want to see. It’s going to be a great fight, they both have something to prove. Manny is gonna prove that he’s still in the game and that he’s still the superstar in boxing and for Bradley he has to maintain that title.”
Bradley said he had long been an underrated boxer.
“I am excited for this fight because I embrace the challenge,” he told reporters. “I love challenges and I love when people say that I can’t do something ’cause I love to prove them all wrong like I have been doing in my whole career.”
“Even though I’m the champion, I wanna be the underdog because I’m still set out to prove that I’m one of the best fighters in the world,” he continued.
He said he is out to prove that this time around, his victory against Pacquiao will be “more decisive.”
By Elton Lugay
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