Two years removed from the most controversial fight of his 19-year professional career, Manny Pacquiao is focused on getting a chance to set the record straight against Timothy Bradley Jr.
The rematch, set for April 12 in Las Vegas (HBO PPV), marks the first time the fighters will meet since their June 2012 bout -- won by Bradley via split decision -- which produced some of the most contentious scorecards in modern history.
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs), 35, enters the bout one fight removed from a wide unanimous-decision win over Brandon Rios in November -- a fight that served as a comeback for Pacquiao following his December 2012 knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
How did you deal with the bad decision after the fight? How long does it take to get over that? What's different in training this time around knowing you can achieve revenge?
That is boxing. It is part of the game and you cannot let yourself get too upset over it or else it will consume you. Judges are human. You cannot expect them to be perfect.
In the first fight against Tim Bradley, I was over it before I returned to the dressing room. To Freddie Roach and me, and apparently everyone else who watched the fight -- except for two [judges] -- I won the fight. The first thing I said to Freddie when we saw each other in the dressing after the fight was, ‘He [Bradley] ran just like we knew he would.’ We never discussed or debated the decision because it was so obvious that I had won the fight and nearly every round.
It never felt like a loss to me and no one treated me any differently. I was treated as the winner. I just moved forward and began training for my next fight, which was against Juan Manuel Marquez.
There is something different in this training camp. 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. 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.
Pacquiao: 'I love competition, I love to win' (Posted on March 26)
At 35, how has your motivation to compete changed from earlier in your career?
My motivation is the same now as it was when I started my boxing career. I love competition and I love to win. When that stops, so does my professional boxing career. But I don't see that happening for a long time.
Because I am facing Tim Bradley again I am extra motivated for this fight. I may not have won the decision the first time we fought but I know I did not lose that fight. I want the world title he won from me back around my waist. I want to prove I am the better fighter.
Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune are asking more from me in this training camp than I have ever given before and as hard as that is to do, I am giving them everything they have asked of me. Too much is at stake for me and for my country. I want to end my career on a winning streak and against the best fighters.
No one has ever defeated Tim Bradley during his professional career. I want to be the first name in his loss column. It will not be easy. Nothing at the world championship level is easy. I still have the hunger and the desire to win and I appreciate Tim Bradley giving me this rematch to prove it. Unfortunately for him, on April 12, I will not be able to repay him that favor with kindness.
Pacquiao: 'I intend to win all the rounds' (Posted on March 20)
The perception is that you sacrificed punching power against Rios in favor of speed in order to outbox him. How much did the result of the Marquez fight impact your strategy against Rios? What will be your strategy against Bradley?
I was very happy with my performance against Brandon Rios. Speed has always been a major weapon for me and I used it throughout the fight against Rios for one simple reason -- it was working. The power is still there and I used it effectively against Rios to keep him off balance. [Trainer] Freddie [Roach] and I came up with the game plan to mix things up against Rios. I would utilize my speed and foot movement in boxing him to keep him off balance. Then when he would come in out of frustration I would land the power punches.
The one thing I learned from my fight against Marquez was patience. When I had him teetering I became reckless and went in to finish him. I was careless and he landed the perfect punch. That was learning a lesson the hard way. But I learned it. I still have the killer instinct. I am not afraid to use my power and go for the knockout. But I will remember the lesson I learned from my last fight with Marquez. Knockouts need to come naturally, you should not force them. But Freddie likes knockouts and I like to make Freddie happy.
I won at least 10 rounds against Tim Bradley the first time we fought. I intend to win all the rounds against him this time regardless of the length of the fight. He said I have lost my hunger and that my time is over. Everything I am doing in training camp is aimed at proving to him just how wrong he is. I have all the respect for Bradley and what he has accomplished but I have no fear of him. He has inspired me to exceed my previous performances inside the ring. If Bradley wants to meet the fighter who stopped Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, he's going to get his wish on April 12.