Eight division world champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) of the Philippines returns to the ring when he takes on former world champion Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) of Palm Springs, California. In what will be the third fight of their rivalry on Saturday April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas live on HBO PPV. We spoke with the “Pacman” on his trilogy match with Bradley in what will be the final fight of his illustrious career.
"The first two fights there are a lot of questions from the fans. I think its good to have the third fight. This is going to be a good fight, better than the last two fights we had. We know Bradley is improving and learning new things," Manny Pacquiao told Southern California Boxing.com
Coming off a decision loss at the hands of former pound for pound king and now retired Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao was defeated in a fight which was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” Following the fight Pacquiao stated he had injured his shoulder during training camp, limiting his ability for the fight with Floyd. In wake of the record breaking fight, Pacquiao faced strings of criticism and had surgery on his shoulder.
"I never regret anything about that fight. Before the fight I didn't feel anything on my shoulder but it happened in the fourth round, I felt something when I threw a combination. I lost my right hand," Pacquiao said. "I think I won the fight. A lot of people think I won the fight. He retired already and I am going to retire after this fight," Pacquiao said. Pacquiao added.
After sitting out the rest of the year recovering from surgery, Pacquiao was due to return in 2016 for his last fight. With Amir Khan lining himself up and rumors of a potential fight with Adrien Broner, the list also included a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and rematch with Mayweather. Pacquiao decided to land a third fight with Bradley as many boxing fans are turned off about the idea.
"I think my shoulder has improved now I am confidently throwing my right hand,"Pacquiao said. "We considered Adrien Broner before this fight was made. Khan, Bradley, Marquez, and the rematch with Floyd. I chose Bradley because he is a different and improved fighter now," Pacquiao added.
The two met for the first time back in June of 2012 with Pacquiao easily handling the then undefeated Bradley. However the decision ended up being one of the most controversial outcomes as Bradley pulled off the decision. Less than 2 years later in the rematch Pacquiao would win a convincing unanimous decision in regaining the WBO welterweight title handing Bradley his first official loss. Since the first fight with Pacquiao, Bradley has gone 5-1-1, 1 KO. 2015 was quite a year for Bradley as he was involved in a wild ending in a decision over Jesse Vargas. With about 20 seconds left in the fight Bradley was hurt badly from a right hand as Vargas went on the attack the referee suddenly waived the fight, causing a great deal of confusion and controversy.
"Bradley has improved a lot compared to the last fight that we had. In his power and technique because he has a new trainer and coach," Pacquaiao said. "He has learned different things with Teddy Atlas," Pacquiao added.
Following the fight with Vargas, Bradley made a change in his team as he hired Teddy Atlas as his new trainer and parted ways with his longtime trainer Joel Diaz. In their first fight together Bradley scored a ninth round TKO over the tough Brandon Rios in his last fight.
"I am impressed with his performance. He knocked him out with body shots. We know Brandon Rios is hard to knock him out because he has a strong chin and legs," Pacquaio said about Bradley's last fight. "I think Brandon Rios underestimated Bradley," Pacquiao added.
His next challenge following the fight with Bradley will be campaigning for his seat in the Philippine Senate this May. A political career that began in 2007 as was elected to the House of Representatives South Cotabao district. Pacquiao was proclaimed Congressman in May of 2010 and took his oath in June of that year in the Sarangani province. 2013 saw him run unopposed in winning the election.
"For me its not difficult to serve the people. What I want is to serve the people because I feel them. I was once there before. That is my dream for politics to serve people honestly without corruption," Pacquiao said on his politcal future.
Pacquiao will now gear up for his rubber match against Bradley with his longtime Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California for the final training camp of his career.
"This will be my last camp of my career and everything will be the same like before," Pacquiao said. "I will miss training, fighting in the ring, and going to other places to promote the fight," Pacquiao added.
A career that began in 1995, Pacquiao won his first world title in 1998 and burst on the scene with his TKO over Lehlo Ledwaba. The rest is history as he has piled up wins over future Hall of Famers Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Shane Mosley.
"I am so happy and blessed on what I have accomplished in boxing. That is enough for me to enjoy my life and be satisfied with what I have," Pacquiao said. "I want to thank everyone for their support," Pacquiao added.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley will be a scheduled 12 round championship fight for Bradley’s WBO welterweight title.
"I want that clear victory for this fight. I am not saying I am going to knock him out but you know what happen the last fight. They don't want to accept that they lost that last fight," Pacquiao said. "I will do my best to prove that Manny Pacquiao is still in his prime before I hang up my gloves," Pacquiao concluded.
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