As Timothy Bradley prepares to face Manny Pacquiao for a third time, the 32-year-old says that he’ll be entering the ring on April 9 with something that he never had before: a game plan.
“I think the difference this time around is I have a game plan – I really do have a game plan,” Bradley said on a recent media call. “My game plan before was to avoid the left hand and hit him with the right hand. Now, the game plan is a little more in detail. There are things that Manny Pacquiao does that I can take advantage of that I didn’t see before in watching film and breaking film down that Teddy has brought to my attention. I feel like it’s going to be a completely different fight than the first two.”
Much has been said about Bradley becoming a different fighter with Teddy Atlas in his corner. Although the two have had only one fight together, Bradley boasts that he has evolved since departing from Joel Diaz last year. The confidence that Bradley shows in Atlas, and vice versa, could be imperative to his success against Pacquiao.
“If I execute the game plan I will have no problem beating Manny Pacquiao just like I was able to beat Brandon Rios with the game plan,” Bradley said. Back in November, Bradley completely dismantled Rios en route to a ninth round TKO. It was a scintillating performance from Bradley and included a much talked about moment when Atlas delivered his now famous “We are firemen” speech. Whether that carries over into the Pacquiao fight has yet to be seen but Bradley believes that Atlas has the key to beating his Filipino foe.
“I trust everything that Teddy is telling me and teaching me,” Bradley said. “Teddy can instill everything that I need and I just go out and instill the game plan to win this fight. He has told me everything I need to know to win this fight and if I don’t go out there and do it I’m not going to win this fight.”
Neither Bradley nor Atlas believes that Pacquiao will be different this time around. While there are those who think the eight-division world champion is slowing down, Bradley and Atlas expect him to be the same fighter he has been for the past few years to a fault.
“Manny Pacquiao pretty much does the same thing and I don’t think there will be anything out of the ordinary,” Bradley said. “I don’t think he’s going to do a new wrinkle right away. He’s been fighting the same way since I have seen him. He knows me but I think I’m going to be a little different this time.”
Bradley realizes that he may be in a no-win situation. Although the series is technically even at one fight apiece, you’ll be hard pressed to find anybody that believes Bradley won their highly disputed first meeting. Essentially, he’s down 0-2 in the eyes of many. But the added fact that Pacquiao is preparing to retire has Bradley seeing this fight as one where his victory would be blamed more on Pacquiao’s decline than Bradley’s improvements.
“If I beat Manny Pacquiao I already know what is going to be said – ‘Oh he was old’ – but I know Pacquiao is still great and he still can fight,” Bradley said.
And despite what the fans and critics may think, Bradley is only concerned with impressing one group of people, his family.
“This is an opportunity for my kids to talk about years from now with their classmates – that their father beat Manny Pacquiao.”