LAS VEGAS — Freddie Roach credited Manny Pacquiao for Saturday night's "disciplined" unanimous decision victory over Tim Bradley, against whom the 35-year-old overcame being staggered in the fourth round to regain the WBO 147-pound belt he lost by a disputed split decision in June 2012.
"Manny fought disciplined but the thing is, I think that Bradley did hurt him," said Roach, during the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand.
"Manny needed to stay away from those big shots because Bradley was really going for the fences all night long and Bradley did tire pretty quickly because of that. That's why Manny was able to dominate the rest of the fight. Bradley tried to land that right hand all night long."
In his past four fights, Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts) lost to Bradley, suffered a sixth-round knockout against Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012 and unanimously decisioned Brandon Rios in November before facing Bradley again.
Bradley had entered the bout saying that Pacquiao had lost his fire and his desire was no longer there for the sport.
"I thought that Manny had the killer instinct. When he had Bradley on the ropes, he fought pretty well. But it seemed like he just didn't have that power that he usually has," said Roach.
"Manny was a little bit slower than I've seen in the past and I don't know why. In the dressing room before the fight, he was on fire. It wasn't quite his best, but I think that Bradley might have had something to do with that."
At times, Pacquiao's strategy of fighting on the inside put him at risk against Bradley, according to Roach.
"Manny was sometimes staying in the pocket a little bit too long and he got caught a couple of times. From what I saw, he was just trying to beat Bradley down the middle a little bit and to stay inside of those overhand shots. Manny was trying to beat him down the middle," said Roach.
"Bradley had some success with that but overall, it was looking like Bradley was trying to land the bigger shots. We fought a bigger, stronger guy and I thought Manny handled it pretty well. We didn't expect Bradley to come with that sort of style. That was kind of something that threw us a little bit. He said that he was going to box us a little bit."
Since defeating Pacquiao, Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) had risen from a 12th-round knockdown to beat Ruslan Provodnikov in March of last year before earning October's split decision over Marquez, against whom Pacquiao is 2-1-1.
Given that Bradley had all but outboxed Marquez, Roach said he expected him to employ a similar strategy in the return bout against Pacquiao.
"We didn't think that he was going to come with that home run all night long. He had some success with that. He landed that overhand right in the fourth round," said Roach.
"He hurt Manny but he threw so many hard shots that by the sixth round, he started to get tired and I thought that from the sixth round on, Manny just dominated the fight."
RIOS: PACQUIAO'S 'ONE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD,' BUT ALVARADO 'HIT ME HARDER'
Prior to his loss to Pacquiao, Rios had lost by unanimous decision to then-WBO 140-pound titleholder Alvarado, whom he had stopped in the seventh round in October 2012.
"I think that Alvarado hit me harder. I felt Alvarado's punches more than I did Pacquiao's. Alvarado did stun me a couple of times. Pacquiao never hurt me. He was quick, landing his shots and getting in and out and for that, I give him all of the credit in the world," said Rios.
"Pacquiao just wanted to box and I just got confused quick because he's a southpaw. But he's one of the most unique southpaws that I've ever fought and I haven't fought a southpaw since very early in my career. There's no shame in losing to Pacquiao though because I lost to one of the best in the world."
JONATHAN GUZMAN SIGNS WITH SAMPSON BOXING
Junior featherweight knockout artist Jonathan "Salomon King" Guzman (16-0, 16 KOs), a 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has signed with Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, Lewkowicz announced on Monday.
"Jonathan Guzman is a future superstar. He has a style that makes the fans go crazy," said Lewkowicz of Guzman, who has only left his native Dominican Republic once for a fight. "He's very powerful and can stop a fight with one shot. The fans in North America are going to love him and I will bring him to them. I'll be announcing his next fight very soon."
Guzman is coming off last month's third-round techical knockout of Eury Hernandez.