LAS VEGAS. While Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley delivered an entertaining fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here Saturday night (yesterday morning, Manila time), trainer Freddie Roach dismissed the notion of a third match.
The jampacked audience got its money’s worth as Pacquiao and Bradley mixed it up to the delight of the fans. Pacquiao won handily but the outcome was up for grabs until the sixth round where two of the three judges had it a draw. Bradley was even ahead on two scorecards , 48-47, after five.
Pacquiao pulled away starting the sixth round as the three judges awarded at least six of the last seven rounds to the Filipino. Trowbridge was particularly generous to Pacquiao, giving him a sweep from the sixth to the 12th rounds. If both fighters were crowd-pleasers, they would surely be considered for a third encounter. As it turned out, only Pacquiao consistently pressed his attack.
Roach admitted he was surprised by Bradley’s aggressiveness at the start. “I expected him to run and that’s what we worked on in the gym, cutting the ring off,” said Roach. “I think Bradley wanted to catch us off-guard by going aggressive and engaging. I was surprised.”
It took a right from Bradley to shake up Pacquiao in the fourth and Roach quickly thought of an antidote. In the gym, Pacquiao would either block it or spin away from the right hand after throwing a 1-2-1 combination off a feint. The ability to adjust during a fight is one of Pacquiao’s distinct assets. After solving the problem of Bradley’s right, Pacquiao retooled to execute his offense.
Roach said as the fight progressed, it dawned on him that Bradley aimed for a knockout, nothing else. “He was looking to throw a homerun,” said Roach. “He probably thought he wouldn’t get the decision, no matter what. So he wanted a knockout.” Bradley took the WBO 147-pound crown from Pacquiao on a hotly-disputed split decision and figured that in the rematch, he wouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt.
“Bradley tried to fight like (Juan Manuel) Marquez in the fourth fight against Manny,” he said. “Marquez landed a knockout punch as Manny came forward. But Bradley ain’t no Marquez. Should there be a Pacquiao-Marquez 3? I don’t think it’s necessary. People were entertained last Saturday but I don’t think they back to watch a third fight.”
Roach said the plan was to box Bradley.
“Manny fought a smart fight,” he continued. “Eventually, Bradley slowed down either because he was tired or hurt or both. Manny was too fast for him. What’s next for Manny? I imagine it could be Marquez for a fifth fight late this year. That’s if Marquez beats Mike Alvarado on May 17.”
Roach said he hopes Floyd Mayweather will later strike a deal for a unification championship bout. “Mayweather’s running out of excuses to avoid Manny,” he said. “Mayweather’s fighting (Marcos) Maidana on May 3 but I don’t know how that will do in pay-per-view sales. Maidana is a little dangerous because of his big punch. I expect Mayweather to teach him a boxing lesson. After Maidana, there’s nobody else who can bring in the bucks for Mayweather. I think Mayweather will realize that and come to the table with us. It’s the same with Manny. The only viable opponents left are Marquez and Mayweather.”
Roach said Mayweather is overly protective of his unblemished record. But he’ll gladly risk the 0 with another proposition that involves a lot of zeroes. The estimate is both fighters could rake in at least P50 Million if they face off. In the end, that’s what boxing is really all about – Mayweather’s nickname Money.