Do you really think this is Pacquiao’s last fight? As a trainer, would you say Pacquiao has more quality fights in him? Is Pacquiao the best fighter you have ever trained? If not, who are the others?
“I personally don’t know if this will be Manny’s last fight but he is training like it’s going to be his last fight. Manny has achieved so much in his boxing career and if this is going to be his swan song I know he wants to go out blazing with a spectacular performance. He’s pouring everything into this training. If the opportunity for a knockout presents itself during the fight, he’s going to go for it. He knows how to close the show and he wants this show closed with fireworks. He wants to finish the book on his boxing career with a spectacular ending.
“I do think Manny has more quality fights in him. His power, speed, work ethic are still superior to most others.
“Manny is the greatest fighter I have ever worked with. I have never seen another fighter accomplish so much. Forget the raw talent and drive to win, Manny was a great student who never rested on his laurels. He was a sponge who was always willing to learn new things. He challenged me to teach him new things. He made me a better trainer. For me, it’s been an experience unique to Manny. I wish I had a million fighters with as much drive and a willingness to learn new things.”
How much do you believe injuries suffered by Bradley in each of the first two fights against Pacquiao affected the result?
“To put it simply, Bradley’s injuries were a big factor in both fights because they were caused by Manny during each fight. Boxing is the hurt business and when you get hit by Manny the force of his punches produce more damage than just to the area where the punches land. They physically rip you from your core. Frankly, I’m not convinced Bradley has yet to fully recover from his fight with Ruslan Provdnikov. And that’s not a knock. That fight was pure hell. I give him a lot of credit for surviving that battle as I do for winning it and continuing on as he has. He’s a tremendous athlete and a gutsy fighter.”
How much of a concern is Pacquiao’s upcoming senate election in terms of being a distraction heading into this fight? How far can Pacquiao make it in politics in the Philippines?
“It has been no distraction at all. He is all business in the ring and the only thing we discuss is the fight with Bradley. If anything, he seems to be extra motivated to perform well in this fight. In boxing, Manny was an eight-division world champion. No one has ever done that. It’s like Joe DiMaggio’s record for hitting in 56 consecutive games. It will never be broken. In boxing, politics and life, Manny has shown us that anything is possible if you work hard and have faith. He has never been confined by limits.”
As a trainer, how important are the first two fights in terms of breaking down tape when Bradley now has a different trainer that is asking to do things differently, especially against Pacquiao?
“Breaking down tape from the previous two fights is very important because I don’t feel Bradley has changed that much. Sure, we will make some adjustments for the changes his new trainer implemented in the last fight, but as soon as Manny lands some meaningful punches, Bradley will revert back to his old style and that’s what we have to be prepared for. The log in the ocean is going to end up being a log in the buzz saw.”
HBO Sports presents LEGACY ON THE LINE: FROM BRADLEY TO PACQUIAO. Chronicling the lessons and controversies Bradley has endured in his high-profile rivalry with the boxing legend from the Philippines, the special debuts SATURDAY, MARCH 26 (midnight-12:30 a.m. ET/PT) and is narrated by Liev Schreiber.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley takes place Saturday, April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.