LONDON (April 11) - Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao believes his role as challenger in his world title bout with Tim Bradley this weekend will inspire him to victory.
The Filipino superstar has cut a calm and relaxed figure throughout fight week as he looks to avenge his controversial 2012 loss to the Californian Bradley, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
It was the 30-year-old Bradley who wrestled the WBO welterweight championship away from the claws of the eight-weight world champion Pacquiao on that fateful night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
But now, ‘Pacman’ is ready to thrive in his position as the challenger, as he looks to show that he can reach the heights of his illustrious past on his way to winning an unprecedented eleventh world title.
“There are a lot of people who doubt I can fight the same way I fought when I knocked out Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera,” said Pacquiao.
“I want to prove to them that I am the best. I am inspired. I am the challenger. I know I will need to outbox and outspeed Bradley. And that is what I will do. This is the first time I have challenged for a world title that I lost. Do I want it back? You bet I do; and I want it back from Tim Bradley,” he said.
Accusations have been levelled at Pacquiao questioning if he still has the hunger and desire for prizefighting.
The man himself admitted he was too cordial in the initial meeting with Bradley, stating he won’t play the nice guy this time around, with the American needing to lay him out to win.
“The only way Bradley can beat me this time is to knock me out. He cannot outbox me. I will be the aggressor. I will throw a lot of punches at him - more than I threw against [Brandon] Rios - and I will land them,” Pacquiao said.
“Last time I was too nice. This time, I will finish what I start. I want to get back that belt he won off of me. Boxing has always been fun for me. This time the fun is secondary. This is a mission to prove I am the best.
“In my fight against Rios I proved I can still fight at the high level everyone expects from me. I showed I can still control a fight as well as I ever have,” he said.
Juggling his role as a boxer and Congressman back home in the Philippines hasn’t been an easy one for the 35-year-old.
He has seen the progress that Bradley has made over the past two years, overcoming WBO light-welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov and Mexican icon Juan Manuel Marquez, to cement his place amongst the elite in the 147 pound division.
Pacquiao is honest enough to declare he overlooked Bradley the first time, but there will be no chance of that this time around.
“I remember last time believing that I won the first fight against Tim Bradley. I thought I was leading after every round. I thought I won the fight easily. I controlled the fight every round. I had a feeling in training camp that he would run from me once he felt my power and he did after the third or fourth round,” said Pacquiao.
“I was very surprised by the decision. But that's part of the game. He got the decision and my title. But to be honest, I wasn't as motivated when I was training for our first fight. I guess I didn't take him seriously enough,” he said.
“I am impressed with what Bradley has done since our fight. He is a different fighter now since we fought. He has more experience at this level and as a welterweight champion. He fought extremely well against Marquez. I knew Tim would beat him utilizing his speed. But in the end I am still faster than Bradley,” Pacquiao said.
The rematch between the pair kicks-off a mega next couple of months on BoxNation with a host of world title fights including Floyd Mayweather’s ring return against Marcos Maidana on May 3rd, with British star Amir Khan also featuring that night against the skilled Luis Collazo.
The final instalment of 24/7: Pacquiao vs. Bradley airs tonight on BoxNation at 7pm, free-to-air to all Sky TV customers.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2 is live on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD & Virgin 546) this Sunday at 2am. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.