Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, and they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. ~ Muhammad Ali
LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Three days from now on April 12th at MGM Grand Garden Arena, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO's) will face undefeated welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO's) in a well anticipated rematch. It will be telecast by HBO on PPV. It's this fight that will set the record straight and truly determine who deserves the WBO title belt which is currently held by Bradley. Their first meeting back in June 2012 went down as one of boxing most controversial outcomes in recent years.
Pacquiao comes into this fight with more question marks hovering around him than answers. Many die-hard fans and experts alike feel that it's this fight that will determine whether or not he still has that 'killer instinct' to be the dominant force he once was in the sport. Timothy Bradley seems to think he's seen his better days as a fighter and only a mere shell of what he used to be; or 'una mera cáscara.'
Since their recent Face-Off with HBO commentator Max Kellerman, Bradley raised questions in regards to Pacquiao's commitment to the sport. The statement he made of Pacquiao no longer having the 'killer instinct' created an echo throughout the boxing world and also disturbed his whole camp, including his Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
If Bradley made those statements just to get into Pacquiao's head or under his skin, it may have worked, or it appears to have for the moment. Brilliant? Maybe. Time will tell. According to a source at Boxingscene, trainer Roach has made it known "if Pacquiao loses again to Bradley without a shred of controversy regarding the final outcome—He will sit down with his fighter and likely advise him to retire."
Roach said, "Pacquiao done something that he had never done before. After the Face-Off with Kellerman, he came to him and asked if he thought the statements Bradley made [of him no longer having it] were true." Roach believes that those statements were disrespectful and has only motivated his fighter this time to close the show in fashion. "He will definitely make him pay for those words," said the trainer.
Shane Mosley, who has fought Pacquiao before and loss, said he's been in the ring with both fighters and felt that Manny won the first fight against Bradley. However, in the upcoming rematch he feels that Bradley is the hungrier fighter and has the most to prove. "Mosley said he's picking Bradley to be clearly victorious this time around. He said Bradley is more experienced now and has improved his boxing skills since he last fought Manny."
Roach has gone on record time and time again saying that him and Manny are very close friends, that they have a great relationship in-and-out of the ring. He said Manny asked him if he ever got to a point in boxing where he thought he was all done, would he tell him. Roach said, without any hesitation, that he would.
Freddie Roach has been the trainer in Manny Pacquiao's successful boxing career for many years. He's been his mentor, and in most cases been like a father figure to him. If Manny can trust anyone in this brutal sport, it is and has always been his trainer Roach. He's already asked him to be honest with him regarding his performance in this rematch against Bradley.
For good or bad, this fight is going to have an impact on boxing. Most feel in Bradley's case, even if he should lose, he could bounce right back from it [he's young and it will only be his first]. However, for Pacquiao if he wins, [especially by KO] his future becomes even brighter.
Boxing fans all around the world will be cheering him on like no time before, [primarily with Floyd Mayweather still hanging in the shadows], but a decisive loss from Bradley would be extremely devastating to his career and could be the final catalyst that ends it all. Unfortunately, if that happens, we may never see him in the ring again.