Manny Pacquiao looking sharp in training
Pacman out to prove to the world that there's still a lot of steam left in his engine
Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is revving up his engines fo his eagerly awaited rematch against World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Timothy Bradley. With just a month and a half to go, Pacman is now focusing on regaining his reputation as one of the boxing worlds most fearsome fighters.
Pacquiao cruised to a decisive victory over Brandon Rios in his last match. Despite the 12-round slugfest going overwhelmingly in Pacquiaos favor, his failure to knock Rios out stirred up doubts about the Fighter of the Decade’s punching power and killer instinct. The Philippine Inquirer reports that for his fight against Bradley, Team Pacquiao plans to lay those doubts to rest.
“Our objective is to knock Bradley out in the early rounds during the fight to avoid another controversial decision,” Pacquiao’s assistant coach and trainer Buboy Fernandez told reporters in the Philippines. Fernandez, who accidentally got hit with a Pacquiao upper cut during training, further added that his power, speed and stamina are still there.
“It’s visible and I could feel it today,” stated Fernandez.
Pacquiao is currently undergoing light training in his hometown of General Santos City. The training regimen is expected to intensify once his main sparring partner, undefeated American lightweight fighter Lydell Rhodes, settles into camp. Rhodes has also trained with the one man boxing fans desperately want to see Pacquiao fight: Floyd Mayweather.
The Bradley fight is an important one for Pacquiao, who is facing a number of difficulties outside of the square circle. Over the years, he has taken flak from pundits for his predilection for high-stakes gambling. Poker came up as an issue after he was spotted playing $100-$200 No Limit poker at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. He even organized his own poker tournament in the Philippines. Although he has since largely moved on from high-stakes bets and games, Pacquiao is still facing financial trouble in
the form of tax issues in his home country.
Aside from the breathing room that a big payday would give the embattled icon, the April match against Bradley seems to go beyond the money aspect. For the veteran Pacquiao, its a chance to prove to the world that there’s still a lot of steam left in his engine, that there’s a royal flush hiding behind the poker face he’ll don during the minutes leading up to the fight.
So far bookies are cautiously optimistic. Early Vegas odds give Pacquiao a slight 2-1 advantage over Bradley, with the Filipino boxing icon listed at -180 and Bradley at +160. A similar picture has also developed across the pond. Online gaming site and partypoker operator bwin, who also happens to be the online partner of fight venue MGM Grand, has the odds set once again in favor of Pacquiao at 1.55 (-181.82) against Bradleys 2.55 (+155).
Theres a lot, both tangible and intangible, riding on Pacquiao and Bradley’s April 12 fight, especially for the former. At this relatively early point, all we can hope for as fans is a fight worth seeing.