Manny Pacquiao has vowed to return to his devastating best when he faces Timothy Bradley for the second time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12.
The Filipino legend lost his WBO Welterweight title to Bradley following a highly-controversial split decision back in June 2012.
Since then his fortunes have fluctuated with that upset followed by another crushing loss when he was knocked out in six rounds by Juan Manuel Marquez before showing glimpses of the old magic to comfortably out-point Brandon Rios in Macau last November.
But even Pacquiao acknowledges he now faces a much stiffer test in attempting to settle a score with the undefeated Bradley.
The supremely confident 30-year-old is a fighter on the up after a superb 2013 that saw a gutsy win over the brutal Ruslan Provodnikov and a career-best display in out-boxing Marquez.
Speaking at yesterday’s fight launch in Los Angeles, Pacquiao said: “I respect Bradley. He has improved a lot in his boxing ability since our first fight and he proved that against Marquez and Ruslan.
“I think this is going to be a good fight with lots of action. Both of us have something to prove.
“I thank god for giving me the strength to fight with aggression like I did against Rios and I promise on April 12 you will see an aggressive, strong and young Manny Pacquiao.”
While the 35-year-old Filipino is motivated by redressing his earlier defeat and becoming a world champion once again, Bradley is determined to earn the respect he feels he didn’t get 18 months ago.
The American was booed from the ring with the consensus being that he had been the beneficiary of an inexplicable error on the part of the ringside judges.
“This fight is basically redemption for me,” he said. “I feel deeply that I won the first fight and I know that nobody out here thinks that. I didn’t get any credit for the first fight. I now need to beat Manny Pacquiao to get the credit that I did not get last time.
“He says that he is going to be the fierce Manny Pacquaio that first came on the scene and that is the Manny that I want to see in the ring on April 12. I only want to fight the best fighters. I have fought the best fighters and I have beaten everyone they have put in front of me.
“This is going to be a tough fight but I believe I will be victorious again.”
Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach has more reason than most to want to beat Bradley as he also trains Provodnikov. But having twice been on the wrong end of decisions to the man known as ‘Desert Storm’ there is a healthy respect.
“Tim Bradley for me is one of the toughest guys in the world,” said Roach. “He is very resilient. We will have to fight a great fight to beat him and that is what we are going to do.”
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