Former pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao is all set for the fight of his career on Saturday, as he takes on rival Timothy Bradley in their WBO Welterweight rematch at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas Nevada.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao enters the showdown with Bradley seeking to end a drought that started four years ago in the fight against Joshua Clottey in 2010. He has been on a knockout for five years now, but the storm from the Pacific vowed to show a relentless, brutal self against the man dubbed as the Desert Storm.
Bradley has been winning the word war ever since his first face-to-face encounter with Pacquiao in February. The undefeated American fighter claimed Pacquiao has already lost his killer instinct after watching subpar performance from the Filipino fighter his last two fights against Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios.
"He's a nice dude, man," Bradley told the Daily News Thursday at a press conference in Manhattan in February. "Pacquiao is very humble, very spiritual. But I don't think he has that killer instinct. I don't think he has that fire in him. I really don't."
Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach found Bradley's comments offensive and vowed to win the fight convincingly via knockout or unanimous decision. In fact, the Pacman promised to unleash his vintage self, the man who dominated boxing legends such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Ricky Hatton and the great Oscar De La Hoya.
"I have all the respect for Bradley and what he has accomplished but I have no fear of him. He has inspired me to exceed my previous performances inside the ring. If Bradley wants to meet the fighter who stopped Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, he's going to get his wish on Saturday."
There's no doubt that Pacquiao is gunning for an impressive victory on Saturday, and the only way to do that is through a knockout win against Bradley. However, after half of decade of not putting an opponent to sleep, the KO power of the Pacman is in question.
Top-Rank promoter Bob Arum also believes that ageing could have affected Pacquiao's ability to knockout opponent in one punch. Still, Arum is convinced that Pacquiao has the skills to dominate the match by firing shots from different angles.
"As we age, we're not the same as we were when we were a little younger, so that's clearly the case for everybody," Arum said in an interview with Robert Morales of Boxing Scene.
In Tuesday's chat session on ESPN Sports Nation, Pacquiao also believes that he still has the power, and his knockout drought is just a product of fighting bigger opponents.
"Of course I feel like my power is still there. I've just been fighting bigger guys. But my power is still there," Pacquiao said during the chat session.
If Pacquiao really lost his KO power, then it's going to be a bad news for him because Bradley is going to fire volume of punches this time around. Bradley's chin has already tested the best punchers in the welterweight division, including Ruslan Provodnikov and the last man that KOd Pacman - Juan Manuel Marquez.
Whether they admit or not, there's only one way for Pacquiao to finish the job with Bradley but to send him on the floor sleeping. Failure to do so will most likely open the possibility of another close-ending or perhaps another win for Bradley.