Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley during their press conference in New York on Feb. 6, 2014. (Photo by Rich Mazon)
Special to the Filipino Reporter
Timothy Bradley is a picture of confidence when he and Manny Pacquiao graced New York City in their second and final stop of a two city presser to promote their April 12 rematch.
The current WBO champion, by virtue of a controversial win over Pacquiao in 2012, likened himself to a bullfighter whose intent is to subdue a turbulent beast that is his former foe.
“Matador versus The Bull. That is what this will be called. That will be the name of this promotion. Matador versus The Bull, Manny Pacquiao is going to be the bull and I’m going to be the matador.”
Bradley unbeaten in 31 fights scored the biggest victory of his career when he scored an upset over Pacquiao at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a debatable split decision nod in their first meeting.
Majority in the sport of boxing believed that he did not deserve the win, Pacquiao included.
Bradley drew a lot of flak from the fans, the press and the public who saw him grab Pacquiao’s old belt by the way of the unpopular judgment at ringside.
But Bradley’s victory withstood all criticisms and the golden strap remained in his belt for almost two years and two successful defenses.
And that is why Bradley wanted this fight so bad, to prove himself against Pacquiao and the rest of boxing.
He calls it his “redemption.”
“This is redemption. I’ve already got a win over Manny Pacquiao, I’ve already beat him. It’s in the record books. It’s history. I just feel that I did not get the credit and I am fighting for credit. This is what it is all about,” says Bradley.
And this time he wants no excuses.
Like Pacquiao, like everyone in boxing who knows their history, Bradley wants to get it right this time against an icon who is 1-1 after their last meeting.
That Pacquiao defeat was a chilling knockout in the hands of his Mexican nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012.
Bradley dominantly routed Marquez in their 12 round championship war last October, also in Las Vegas.
It is a win that gives him an extra boost of confidence going to this second fight with Pacquiao.
“The fact that I was in the Marquez fight, the fact that I beat Marquez, He knocked out Pacquiao and I beat him.”
But Bradley knows that his victory over Marquez cannot satisfy his clamor for respect.
He can only earn that by beating Pacquiao a second time but this time without the skepticisms and doubts in all corners of the sport.
“We have unfinished business. The fact that the first fight was controversial, the fact that I felt I won the fight and the fact that he felt won the fight, now we will decide it once and for all. Pacquiao has a lot to prove and I have a lot to prove.”
As both fighters posed for the mandatory face off for photographers to shoot, Pacquiao grabbed the championship belt that he wanted back again in his waist.
But Bradley did not let the belt escape his hands, firmly gripping it as both fighters faced the cameras.
Pacquiao promised to bring his old killer instinct back to retrieve what was once his.
Bradley knows this and he welcomes the challenge like a matador anticipating a raging bull towards his path.
“Manny Pacquiao knows he has to come to bring it to me. He wants the title back and he has to earn it back. Bring it on. I embrace the challenge.”
On April 12, one will remain standing in that bullring at The MGM Grand.