Despite the fact that Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley entered his fight against Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao on Saturday night with an unblemished record, few gave the 28-year-old boxer a chance. Bradley proved the critics wrong, however, as he defeated the heavily-favored Pacquiao in a controversial decision for the ages.
For most of the fight, Pac-Man looked to be the aggressor and more dominant fighter. He landed most of the power punches and came away with the more impressive exchanges. Yet two of the judges sided with Bradley.
Pacquiao had been coming off a difficult fight against Juan Manuel Marquez and was looking for redemption versus Bradley. Pacquiao was given the majority-decision win over Marquez, but Dinamita frustrated him all night long with his defensive posture and counterpunching. Despite a more impressive performance this time around, the judges failed to see it that way.
The Filipino superstar simply couldn't get into a rhythm against Bradley and it led to him relinquishing his WBO Welterweight Championship to the American. The win figures to be huge for Bradley's career as many considered Pacquiao the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. Now Bradley should be in very high demand amongst the top boxers in the sport.
Where does Pacquiao go from here?
Perhaps the biggest question now, though, is what this result means for Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather. As much as the two fighters have been maligned by boxing fans for not coming to an agreement yet, everyone still wants to see them do battle. With Pacquiao losing, though, you have to wonder whether any chance of a fight between them is now dead.
There is also likely to be some talk about Pacquiao possibly retiring. His trainer Freddie Roach said (via ESPN) before the Bradley fight that if Pacquiao performed badly, he would suggest that he hang up the gloves. Roach is known for running his mouth, however, so you can never take everything he says at face value.
With that said, retirement is certainly a possibility. Pacquiao has been very shaky over his past two fights and if a Mayweather bout isn't going to happen, then Pac-Man has nothing left to prove or accomplish in the ring. Pacquiao has a political career to think about back in the Philippines, so he could easily walk away now.
There is an automatic rematch clause in place for Pacquiao after the loss, however, so he may be inclined to compete in at least one more match. He would be leaving a lot of money on the table if he didn't, so perhaps a rematch with Bradley could be his last fight whether he wins or loses. It's all quite uncertain at this point, but Pacquiao is one of the best of his generation regardless of what happens.
The boxing world has been turned upside down without a doubt, but it may ultimately be a good thing. Boxing fans are always looking for up-and-coming stars to root for, and Bradley may now be that guy. He has a lot of good years left in him, so maybe his win over Pacquiao can be the start of an incredible run atop the sport.
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