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Roach expects Pacquiao to block out distractions once training camp starts

roach5By Chris Williams: There are a lot of things going on with Manny Pacquiao’s life as he approaches his fight with WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) three months from now on April 9th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao, 37, is running for a senate seat in the Philippines, and the election will take place in May. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach doesn’t think he’ll be distracted by everything that’s going on in his life.

Roach is counting on Pacquiao being able to compartmentalize everything and focus on the task at hand in beating Bradley again. Pacquiao really wants that position a great deal, and the election will definitely be a potential distraction for him as he goes into the Bradley fight. What further complicates things is that Pacquiao is coming off shoulder surgery and a loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao isn’t taking a tune-up bout in order to see if his surgically repaired right shoulder has healed like some fighters would do. He’s going straight into a potentially very difficult fight with Bradley in his first fight back from the surgery. In other sports, this would not be done, but Pacquiao and his promoters at Top Rank are willing to risk it. Pacquiao needs a win over Bradley, because a defeat could hurt his chances of getting elected into the senate in the Philippines.

“One thing about Manny Pacquiao is once he walks in the boxing gym, all that other stuff goes away,” Roach said to the “He’s always dedicated, always works very hard, and I don’t think that will change. Once he’s in the gym, he knows what he’s there for. It’s still what he does best, and he knows that.”

It certainly helps that Pacquiao has already fought Bradley twice and seemingly gotten the better of him in both fights. There won’t be any surprises in store for Pacquiao unless Bradley has suddenly developed punching power at age 32. That’s doubtful.

Bradley’s new trainer Teddy Atlas is a good motivator and a great talker, but he’s not going to be able to do much with Bradley’s lack of punching power. He’s the finished product at this point in his career. The only real strategy that Atlas can do to change Bradley is have him do simple things like throw more body shots, which he did in his last fight against an out of shape 170lb Brandon Rios, and use movement.

“With all that fat on Rios, I had never seen him look like that before, so I don’t think Bradley had that much in front of him,” Roach said.

Roach doesn’t give Atlas the credit for working Bradley’s corner for the Rios fight because of how out of shape Rios was. He looked so bad that Bradley would have likely beaten him with ease even if he had trained himself for the fight. Rios wasn’t able to fight hard for three minutes of every round, and he struggled to handle the body shots that Bradley was hitting him with.

The guy that really should be getting all the credit for Bradley’s win over Rios is their promoter Bob Arum, because he’s the one that selected Rios for Bradley instead of selecting a dangerous opponent that could potentially beat him. Rios basically came into the fight with Bradley with 3 defeats in his last 5 fights.

It was already established going into the fight that Rios didn’t have the talent to be fighting a high level welterweight. He did well against Mike Alvarado in his previous fight, but was just a shell of his former self by that point in his career. Beating him didn’t mean a thing.

Roach would like to have Pacquiao spend the entire eight weeks of his training camp in Los Angeles rather than the first four weeks in the Philippines training. Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz would also like to see Pacquiao train in Los Angeles rather than in the Philippines because he’s also concerned with the distractions that Pacquiao would have.

The reason for a third fight between Pacquiao and Bradley is because the two of them have a good chance of putting on an entertaining fight and making decent money. Pacquiao says is was a combination of business and entertainment in choosing Bradley rather than Amir Khan or Terence Crawford.

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