Timothy Bradley etched his name into the history books when he defeated Manny Pacquaio in 2012 in what was one of most talked about outcomes in boxing history. After facing off against the Filipino superstar once more, the California native looks to settle the score once and for all in a third bout. This time around, Bradley has a renewed sense of focus and confidence, boasting new trainer Teddy Atlas in his corner, he is more than ready to put his stamp on this epic rivalry. Ahead of the fight, Source Sports had a chance to speak with Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley about what led up to this Saturday and his expectations.
What is your mental space like going into this fight as opposed to the previous two against Manny Pacquiao?
TB: That’s a real good question man. It’s confidence. I’m clear headed this time going in. It honestly feels like a fresh fight for me against Pacquiao. It almost feels like I don’t really know this guy, especially because of my new head trainer Teddy Atlas. I’m just listening to everything he tells me to do, he came up with the game plan and i’m not trying to put my own two cents into it. That’s exactly what I did in the Rios fight. If I do that then I shouldn’t have a problem beating this guy.
But i’m just clear headed man. I’m calm, I feel like a veteran. I’ve been here before, so i’m going to use my experience. I’ve been in the ring with him but this time it’s a whole new game plan, different strategy. I’m just calm and focused. I’m not moved by any media, i’m not moved by anything. I’m just going to go out there and do my job. Nothing personal, it’s all business.
You last fight against Brandon Rios was your first with new trainer Teddy Atlas. Was this potential rematch with Pacquaio the reason you switched trainers last year and are there any significant differences between Atlas and Joel Diaz?
TB: No, there was no plan to fight Manny Pacquaio for the third time. I really didn’t have that on my mind prior to my fight with Rios. When I made the transition to go with Teddy and the way we looked, it kinda just opened the door. It made sense for me to fight Manny again, especially because of the way I looked. I was sharper, more in-tune with the game plan and what I was supposed to do. I wasn’t all sloppy and all over the place swinging wild. I’m a completely different fighter.
To answer the second part, there is nothing bad I can say about my former trainer Joel Diaz. There is nothing we can take away from him, we won championships together but there are a lot of things that are different in training camp with Teddy Atlas. One of the things is Teddy has a no cellphone policy in the gym. If you have a phone, it has to be turned off.
Did you feel like that policy made a difference?
That made a huge difference. With the cellphones, you see it everyday. Think about it, you ever go to a restaurant and watch how many families and couples actually talk? No one talks anymore, everybody is in their cellphone, its a distraction. Teddy also has a no music policy. Its all focus in the gym, all focus. The sparring is also different. I used to spar on Mondays, now I have Wednesdays off and spar on Thursdays instead. The amount of miles I run is different, I run less. Teddy is in full control and thats the reason why he decided to come out. I gave him full control, I said, whatever you say I’ll do. With that said, I can’t take anything away from Diaz. I just had to make a change due to the fact that I was getting hit a lot more. I wanted to get hit less to be able to last a lot longer in the distance without taking so much punishment and thats the reason why I felt that I needed to make a change.
You vacated your WBO Welterweight belt to face Pacquaio, instead taking the mandatory fight against Sadam Ali. Did you do that because you felt there wouldn’t be a strong enough buzz for Bradley-Ali or did you really want to face off against Pacquaio again because there was some controversy surrounding your first bout with him?
TB: My decision was based on this not only being a sport but its a business also so I decided to vacate my championship. I have a good relationship with the WBO, they support Tim Bradley and I support the WBO. We have an amazing relationship and they understood the circumstances and what was in front of me, they were cool with it. I chose to go with what was more lucrative for my family so I went with what made the most sense and that was fight Manny again. Nothing against Sadam Ali, he’s a great, quality fighter.
Some said that you came out swinging for the fences in your last bout with Pacquiao and you began to tire in the later rounds, suggesting that you might have been looking for a KO to land decisive win. Can you share what changes you might have made in your planning for this go around?
TB: Everything is all in-tune with me being a smart monster. Swinging wildly, trying to knock everybody out, none of that. Its about me being content with what I do and thats being a great professional, following the game plan doing exactly what i’m supposed to do. Thats all I can give you.
Regardless of what goes down this weekend, what does the future hold for you? Perhaps Terence Crawford or Amir Khan?
TB: I don’t really think about anything else other than whats in front of me, thats the way i’ve always done it. I’m not thinking about anything else, one fight at a time. Thats how I fight my fights. If I follow my game plan, I know I won’t have any problems with Manny Pacquaio but i’m always willing to fight best.
If you had to compare your fighting style to any emcees rap style, who would you compare that to?
TB: Wow, [Laughs], thats is a great question. I would have to say an emcee that can do it all because I fight different every time. So you could say Jay Z, you already know, Jay is the top dog.
Make sure to catch the fight Saturday April 9, 2016 at 9 p.m. EST on HBO PPV