Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Results: Round-by-Round Analysis and Recap
It turns out that reports of Manny Pacquiao's demise were premature. On Saturday night in Las Vegas, the eight-division champion looked a lot like the Pacman of old, giving the fans an exciting fight and handling a world-class competitor.
Against a younger and stronger opponent, Pacquiao stood up to an early mauling to adjust and use his speed and agility to pull away during the middle rounds.
It was vindication for Pacquiao's June 2012 split-decision loss to Bradley, considered among the most controversial in recent years. All three judges scored the fight for Pacquiao and handed him back the WBO welterweight title by unanimous decision.
This was a closer fight than the last one and more exciting. Bradley demonstrated that he was a warrior. And Pacquiao proved he is still among the sport's elite.
Round 1: Bradley Looks Confident, Pacquiao Looks Relaxed
No major damage was landed during the round, as both fighters largely sized each other up. Pacquiao remained at a safe rage throughout.
Bradley was busy with the jab early. Pacquiao looked to land the big left. There was a lot of sizing up. Bradley flashed the left and Bradley came close with a uppercut counter, just missing.
Bradley landed a solid right by about halfway through the round. Bradley did a good job making Pacquiao miss, pivoting on the front foot.
Round 2: The Fighters Mix It Up
By Round 2 this fight was already shaping up to be more exciting than the first one. Bradley landed a good right hand in the first minute but Pacquiao made a strong rally inside the second minute.
Bradley adjusted and countered well. A fire fight broke out as both fighters looked to grab the momentum.
Round 3: Pacquiao Finds His Left, Bradley Mauls in Return
I doubt many people expected this fight to look like it did through the first three rounds, but I doubt anybody was disappointed. Manny Pacquiao landed some very solid left hands in the third, but Bradley continued to maul the Filipino star, pounding at his body.
The crowd was rallied heavily, as Pacquaio seemed to win his second straight round.
Round 4: Bradley Goes Hard to the Body and Finds Targets Upstairs
This fight continued to surpass expectations as the first third wrapped up. Timothy Bradley landed hard shots to the body in this round and managed to land the bigger shots to the head, as well.
Bradley landed some heavy right hands in this round. He was planting hard on every blow.
Pacquiao meanwhile looked very fluid, even as he took punishment.
Round 5: The Pace Slowed, but Only a Little
It was probably inevitable that the pace would slow a little bit at some point entering these middle rounds. Bradley continued to bull inside but Pacquiao remained quick on the outside for portions of the round.
I agreed with HBO's Max Kellerman, that this round looked to be a swing round. At the time it seemed like it might be a critical round for deciding the fight.
Round 6: The Fight Halfway Done, Bradley Kept Coming
Timothy Bradley continued to muscle inside, planting and throwing heavily with every blow. Manny Pacquiao spent more of the round on the defensive.
Pacquiao rallied the crowd at the end of the round by throwing a flurry after trapping Bradley on the ropes, but Bradley evaded almost all of the punches. It was another close round.
Round 7: Both Warriors Swung for the Fences
The fight started to turn back into a slugfest in this round. The two opposing forces came into clear view once again: Bradley's tremendous strength against Pacquiao's agility and athleticism.
Once again, the action was exciting. Bradley invested in some heavy body shots in the first half of the round, but Pacquiao stole the round inside of the last minute with blinding flurries after trapping Bradley on the ropes.
Round 8: Bradley Started to Slow Down
For the first time in the fight, I felt a definite momentum shift happening towards Pacquiao. This was the least action-packed of any round in the fight, and close, but Bradley mostly hung back, looking to trap Pacquiao.
During the rounds I felt Bradley was clearly winning, he was imposing his strength on Pacquaio at close round. Joel Diaz's anger when speaking to Bradley after the round confirmed my suspicion that Pacquiao was taking control.
Round 9: Pacquiao Continued to Swing the Fight His Way
Joel Diaz's first words to Timothy Bradley in the corner after Round 9 continued to tell the evolving story of the fight. Pacquiao's speed and patience was starting to take the fight away from the determined Bradley.
In my eyes, this was clearly another round for Pacquiao. Although it had been a close fight, at this point Bradley was dropping behind on my card.
Round 10: Bradley Swung Big, Pacquiao Stayed Patient
I thought this was a better round for Bradley than the past three, but Pacquiao was not making any mistakes, and he continued to land significant left hands.
This was another swing round. Contrary to HBO's team, I thought there was an argument for Bradley winning this round. But Pacquiao had good moments in the round, too.
Round 11: Too Little Too Late for Bradley
I thought this round definitely went to Bradley. On the other hand, he did nothing spectacular during the round and certainly didn't put himself in great position for a final, Round 12 blitz. And by this point, it was obvious that would be what he would need to win.
This was a very entertaining fight, better than the last one. It was closer, too. But It seemed obvious Pacquiao could only lose by KO at this point.
Round 12: Bradley Finished in a Flurry, but Pacquiao Danced out of Danger
Both fighters came hard in Round 12. It was competitive, but if anything, Pacquiao probably deserved to win this round, too.
The fighters embraced in a mutual show of respect at the end of the fight. These were definitely two of the best fighters in the game, putting everything they had into it.
But despite how much I would have loved to be right in my prediction earlier this week, I had to basically agree with HBO's Harold Lederman. I'll have to watch again to have a scorecard I can be confident about, since I was busy updating.
But my own sense was 8-4 Pacquiao, maybe 7-5 at the closest.