x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Manny Pacquiao on Timothy Bradley fight: ‘I want my world title back’

In Part I of an exclusive interview with The National's Omar Al Raisi, Manny Pacquiao talks about his April 12 rematch with Timothy Bradley and his aim of 'proving I am still the same Manny Pacquiao'.

Manny Pacquiao will fight Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12. Joe Klamar / AFP
Manny Pacquiao will fight Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12. Joe Klamar / AFP

Manny Pacquiao knows his time in the fight game is running out, and he wants to leave the sport as a champion and as an inspiration to his countrymen.

The next step comes on April 12, when he plans to take from Timothy Bradley the WBO welterweight title the unbeaten American won via a controversial decision nearly two years ago over the 35-year-old Filipino.

“This fight is about proving that I am still the same Manny Pacquiao boxing fans have been used to watching in the boxing ring – lots of action and excitement,” he said.

“I have a few fights left and I want to end my boxing career winning them all and as a world champion. That can only happen if I beat Timothy Bradley. I want my world title back.”

Bradley has said Pacquiao has lost his fire and killer instinct, but the heavy hitter, who has won championships in an unprecedented eight weight classes during his career, says he feels like a young man again.

“That is God’s will, right now,” Pacquiao said. “I feel as good as I did 10 years ago so I hope to fight for a few more years. Everyone will see that, including Bradley, on 12th April in the ring.”

He said he is not giving much thought to an opponent after Bradley, who has 31 victories in as many fights, compared to the Filipino’s record of 55-5-2.

“I never look beyond the fight I have in front of me, it is bad business,” Pacquiao said in an email interview with The National. “We will talk about my next fight after April 12, which will be around October this year.”

He defeated Brandon Rios via unanimous decision in November in Macau, a fight that drew around 500,000 pay-per-view buys, or about one-fourth the number Floyd Mayweather Jr sold for his victory over Saul Alvarez in September, earning a record US$150 million (Dh551m).

Pacquiao believes his fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will attract more viewers, in part because Bradley subsequently notched a pair of creditable victories in the period between their bouts.

“I think this will be a bigger fight because the fans saw that the old Manny was back, against Rios,” Pacquiao said. “And Tim Bradley is a different fighter from when he fought me the first time.

“He has shown a lot of versatility, going toe-to-toe with Ruslan Provodnikov and boxing with Juan Manuel Marquez.

“There is a lot at stake for both of us. The fans should be excited.”

As usual, it is expected many members of the Philippines expatriate community in the UAE will be setting their alarm clocks to be up for the occasion, with the fight taking place in the early hours of April 13 due to the time difference, to see their boxing hero in the ring on the other side of the planet.

“All Filipinos around the world should know that I fight for them and to bring glory to the Philippines,” he said. “My victory is our victory.”

sports@thenational.ae