From the demons he encountered after the controversial split decision win he was awarded during their first fight, to the journey he had to go through to get back to this point for an opportunity to claim the due he never got for beating Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight champion has had a lot to get off his chest of late.
As far as his expectations and intentions on the fight itself, Bradley - not known for his punching power - has made it known that he wants to go toe-to-toe and for Pacquiao to come and knock him out, at times even resorting to taunts as if to get a rise out of his opponent.
“Rios laughed at him,” Bradley teased on HBO’s 24/7, referring to Pacquiao’s most recent fight against Brandon Rios in Macau. “And you know when Rios laughed, you know what he said - ‘you hit like a b*tch.’ He couldn’t even knock out a guy who was coming straight forward at him?”
Taken literally, Bradley’s comments would appear to undermine his own body of work as he himself managed to stop opponents only at a 37.5% ratio (12 times in 31 fights) as opposed to Pacquiao’s 61.3% KO rate (38 KOs in 55 wins). If there is a boxer who should appreciate a dominant points win, it’s Bradley, so one can assume that his tirades go deeper than simply wanting to fight fire with fire with the Filipino slugger.
Not so, says trainer Joel Diaz.
“Timothy is serious business,” Diaz said during Thursday afternoon’s media roundtable. “Whatever Timothy says, I guarantee you that’s what’s going to happen.”
Diaz says that, unlike their counterparts, their side does not resort to psychological warfare and mind games. “We are not like Freddie Roach. We don't play mind games,” Diaz emphatically said. “We're not here to play psychological games, we are here to fight and if Tim says that, I guarantee you that's what's going to happen.”
In doing so, Diaz explained how going toe-to-toe isn’t necessarily the only way to stay in front of Pacquiao and that his ward didn’t run away in the first fight contrary to public opinion. “There's ways you can try to apply pressure on the fighter and not walk straight forward. You can apply smart pressure to a fighter,” said Diaz. “I was watching the fight again this morning, they said Timothy ran. Timothy never ran. He was always in front of Manny. It's just that people see it their way.”
Interestingly enough, Diaz came out and said that a loss would’ve been better than the controversial win they were awarded, if only to have closure and that it’s the very reason why he knows his fighter sincerely wants Pacquiao to be at his best this weekend.
“He's not playing mental games to bring Manny Pacquiao to fight,” Diaz continued. “As a matter of fact we want the best Manny Pacquiao to come that night. We want the best Manny Pacquiao - the most explosive, the vicious Manny Pacquiao - to show up Saturday night because if things go wrong for Manny and Tim ends up beating him convincingly or for example Tim knocks out Pacquiao, he's not going to get the credit.”
Diaz’s words bring a different level of determined enthusiasm on their side, as they hope to put the controversial first fight behind them at all costs.
“We want Manny Pacquiao to come and knock Bradley out, because Bradley will be there all night for him,” Diaz reiterated for good measure.