Manny Pacquiao focused on Tim Bradley, not fight officials
Which Manny Pacquiao will show up for his April 12 rematch with WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley?
Will it be the the one who went for the knockout only to be left flattened, face-first, and unconscious following a sixth-round stoppage loss to 147-pound rival Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012, or the version that fought smart, some would say cautiously, during his subsequent unanimous decision over Brandon Rios in his last fight in November?
The answer may depend on how much Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) has been effected by his last meeting with Bradley, who dethroned him by disputed split-decision in June 2012 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, site of his loss to Marquez as well as his return bout with Bradley on HBO Pay Per View.
"I'm not angry after the decision. I understand that with the officials, nobody's perfect in this world. I have to understand that it's part of boxing. I wasn't bothered after that fight," Pacquiao said during a Tuesday conference call with media members.
"I went home and the reaction of the people was not negative, it was positive, so, they understood that I won the fight… We're not focusing on a knockout. Our focus is to put more discipline into it and to throw a lot of punches. If the knockout comes, then it comes. I just want to prove that I still have the hunger and the killer instinct."
Although Bradley-Pacquiao I was considered the most controversial big fight outcome in many years, Pacquiao, his trainer Freddie Roach and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum insist he is over it.
"There's nothing to get mad over," said Roach. "It's part of life, winning and losing, and revenge is great, and that's what we have a chance to do here. We have a shot at reversing that bad decision and to get the win this time, and hopefully, if everything goes well and we fight the right fight, then we'll knock this guy out,"
"The thing is it was so easy for him in the early rounds that in the later rounds, he wasn't throwing combinations like he usually does, he was just throwing single punches and kind of just going through the motions because he thought that he was way ahead. But we needed a little more aggressiveness. We need to fight three minutes of every round. I think that if we're able to fight at a fast pace like that, then we'll be able to shock Bradley along the way."
Bradley was awarded the decision 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.
"That decision was two years ago, and you're not going to change the decision," said Arum. "You just go on with your life, and you do the best that you can in a fight that's going to take place on April 12. So would you be excorcised any more by a decision that happened years ago. It was what it was.
"You move on. I think that we all feel that way. Whatever it was, it was. Duane Ford is no longer judging. C.J. retired in disgrace after another crazy decision, and hopefully, the Nevada Commission will appoint judges from all over the world for this fight that will give a fair result if the fight doesn't end in a knockout."
Since Bradley-Pacquiao I, the search has been on for a replacement for Keith Kizer, who has resigned in January as the NSAC's executive director.
The commission has announced its 10 finalists for Kizer's position, and NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar hopes to have one in place before Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s May 3 welterweight unification bout with Marcos Maidana at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"We have circulated, to both camps, a list of proposed judges, and it's a big list. So we're giving the camps the opportunity to knock off referees and judges," said Arum.
"We have no executive director, but I have an 11:00 a.m. call with the chairman, Franciso Aguilar, to give him the results of the input from both camps. Then, the commission, I think, has a meeting sometime in early April where they will actually select the referee and the judges."
Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs), for his part, has vowed that he would redeem himself with a more emphatic win. In his last two fights, Bradley took considerable punishment but outpointed Ruslan Provodnikov via close unanimous decision in March 2013 before earning a split-decision over Marquez last October.
"This fight's definitely bigger than the first one… I want to thank Pacquiao and his whole team for coming to terms to make this fight happen. This fight is basically redemption for me. I feel, deeply, in my heart, that I won the first fight," said Bradley, who received death threats in the aftermath of their first bout, during an earlier interview.
"I know that everybody out here don't feel that I won the fight. I know they don't feel that I want the fight. I didn't get any credit for the first fight. So, this fight is basically redemption for me. I'm going to beat Manny Pacquiao to get the credit that I didn't get in the first fight. That's the bottom line."