Tim Bradley: The ‘punisher’ Manny Pacquiao is no more


Tim Bradley recalled Manny Pacquiao as "one of the more vicious punchers in the game" and "a punisher" entering their initial clash in June 2012.

Pacquiao rode a 15-bout winning streak that included eight knockouts into their fight, a run encompassed of winning three title belts over as many different weight divisions. It also included two knockouts of Erik Morales, as well as stoppage wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and David Diaz.

There were also a pair of decision victories over Juan Manuel Marquez, and decisions over Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Marco Antonio Barrera and Joshua Clottey.

"Manny used to be like a storm, man, Manny Pacquiao was a punisher," said Bradley, who is 30. "He used to be blazing. He used to just knock guys out. He didn't mess around."

But Bradley said that he has noticed a decline as of late in Pacquiao, whom he dethroned as WBO 147-pound beltholder by split-decision. After facing Bradley, Pacquiao was knocked out in the sixth round — the third stoppage loss of Pacquiao's career — in December 2012 by Juan Manuel Marquez, against whom Pacquiao is 2-1-1.

Although Pacquiao rebounded from the two losses with November's unanimous decision over rising 140-pounder, Brandon Rios, Bradley believes that the eight-division titlewinner looked tentative in doing so.

"He had a guy that was sitting in front of him, and a guy that is a tough guy. Brandon Rios, I have a lot of respect for him. He's a very tough guy and a good fighter. But Mannny had him right there in front of him and he couldn't get rid of him when he's supposed to be one of the more vicious punchers in the game," said Bradley.

"I've never seen Manny Pacquiao take a step back before when he's supposed to engage, but I think that is what I saw in the last round of the Rios fight, when Rios was trapped in a corner. You saw Manny Pacquiao step off of the gas pedal. That was unbelievable to me."

Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) apparently doesn't expect to see much more out of Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) in their HBO Pay Per View-televised rematch on April 12 at the MGM Grand, site of their first bout.

Bradley attended the post-fight news conference in a wheelchair following his victory over Pacquiao, claiming to have pulled the ligaments in his left foot and strained ligaments in his right in the second and fourth rounds, respectively.

"In my fight, I was wounded. I had two bad feet and he couldn't take me out. So, I mean, what makes you think that he's going to take me out with two good feet? I had two wounded feet. That's when I started noticing it, man. He has the ability to fight," said Bradley.

"Don't get it twisted when I say that he doesn't have the fire or the passion. I say that because I don't see that anymore. He used to be like a storm, man. Manny Pacquiao was a punisher. He used to be blazing. He used to just knock guys out. He didn't mess around. Now, he's more compassionate toward his opponents, and that's not good for a boxer, man."

Bradley was awarded the decision over Pacquiao by scores of 115-113 on the cards of official judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, Jerry Roth had the same score for Pacquiao and an informal poll of 51 writers favored Pacquiao over Bradley, 48-3.

This time, however, trainer Joel Diaz said Bradley will be more dominant.

"I'm telling the world right now," said Diaz. "Tim Bradley's going to come to the ring on April 12, and he's going to ruin a lot of people's parties by beating Manny Pacquiao again."