BEVERLY HILLS, CA.-Talk about time changing everything.
The last time Manny Pacquiao was meeting Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley it was mostly about how long it would take to defeat the Southern Californian. This time there was no such talk.
A lot has changed in 20 months since Bradley took the WBO welterweight title from “Pacman” Pacquiao in Las Vegas. After all of the hate mail, death threats and name calling by poor sports, Bradley simply stepped on the gas full throttle and defeated Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“He had a magnificent 2013,” crowed Top Rank’s Bob Arum about Bradley during a Tuesday press conference.
Pacquiao recently defeated Oxnard’s Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in Macao with a one-sided effort that saw the speedy southpaw Filipino superstar win almost every round. It was a litmus test for Pacman who prior to that fight was stopped by Juan Manuel Marquez. The world waited to see if Pacquiao could return to form and he did. Somewhat.
“He’s not the same Pacquiao,” said Bradley ,who praised the Philippine Congressman for his passion and good manners. “The killer instinct is gone.”
Bradley said he studied Pacquiao’s fight against Rios and noticed that in the past Pacman would attack, attack and attack. Yes, he was facing a stubborn and hard-hitting foe in Rios, but Bradley said he could see a significant change in the boxing style of the prizefighter who captured world titles in numerous weight divisions.
Pacquiao was gracious as always and more talkative than usual. Standing by his side was Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune, who had not been a part of Pacman’s team in many years but has returned.
“This is one of the toughest guys in the world,” Roach said of Bradley. “He is very resilient.”
Bradley predicts another victory, but this time a more convincing win. Asked if he was being cocky, the champion from Palm Springs replied: “I’m just confident. Very confident. That’s the kind of person I am.”
Pacquiao was classy as ever when talking about Bradley.
“One thing is assured, it’s going to be a good fight,” said Pacquiao. “We have something to prove.”
Bradley mentioned over and over he did not appreciate the behavior of fans after he was proclaimed the victor in 2012.
“I already fought Manny so I know how to fight him,” Bradley said. “He doesn’t know how to fight me.”
Pacquiao gave a brief analysis of Bradley.
“I respect Bradley. He’s a nice guy. He improved a lot his boxing ability,” said Pacquiao, who faces a tougher challenge than their first encounter. “He proved that in the Marquez fight and the Ruslan fight.”
The Crystal Room in the Beverly Hills Hotel was filled to near capacity. It was a lot different than their first press conference back in 2012 when few gave Bradley a sliver of a chance.
“He was a 9 to 1 underdog,” said Arum. “Nobody gave Bradley a chance.”
Arum said he expects a sold out crowd and to easily surpass 1 million pay-per-views in the rematch.
“They nearly had 900,000 in the first fight,” Arum said.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Feb. 5.