Manny Pacquiao's new-found religious devotion has made him a more focused, dedicated person. However, when he enters the ring against Timothy Bradley on Saturday night, don't expect Pacquiao to turn the other cheek. He will possess the same ferocious killer instinct he has always had.
On HBO's 24/7 program hyping the Bradley fight, Pacquiao admitted that he underestimated Juan Manuel Marquez heading into their November fight that ended in a majority decision victory for the Filipino southpaw. He also swears that won't happen again.
Now that Pacquiao has got rid of the many distractions that have surrounded his life and rededicated himself to his religion and marriage, he seems much more focused on boxing. A focused Manny Pacquiao is a scary proposition.
Bradley is entering this fight with a strong belief in himself. He has never lost a professional fight and works as hard as anyone in the gym. He truly thinks he is going to blitz right through Pacquiao and establish himself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
However, the one thing working against Bradley is his style. He is constantly attacking, moving forward and throwing punches. That plays right into what Pacquiao loves to do. Pac-Man wants to brawl, he loves mixing it up and trading punches with opponents.
The fighters who have had the most success against Pacquiao have employed a counter-punching strategy. Juan Manuel Marquez has been able to essentially fight the Filipino to a draw over three bouts thanks to his expert counter-punching. Erik Morales also counter-punched his way to a win over Pacquiao way back in 2005.
Bradley's best asset is his high-pressure offense, and if he employs that on Saturday Pacquiao will crush him. The world's best pound-for-pound fighter's killer instinct will be readily apparent, regardless of his religious beliefs.