Vengeance is Manny Pacquiao's.
The 35-year-old had a point to prove on Saturday night after his controversial loss to Timothy Bradley back in 2012, and he left no doubt this time around, earning a unanimous-decision victory. The judges scored it 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110, per ESPN's Dan Rafael:
Few will argue with the final result, as "Pac-Man" was the clear victor. He got stronger and stronger as the fight went on and built an unassailable lead.
Former champion Lennox Lewis thought this fight played out like the same one did, the only difference being the judges finding the correct result:
"Desert Storm" started out the fight really well. He was going toe-to-toe with Pacquiao. Both boxers were exchanging blows, making it extremely hard to determine who held the advantage after the first four rounds. Fox Sports' Jay Glazer was one of many fans enthralled in the bout's early stages:
As the fight dragged on, though, Pacquiao began stamping his authority more and more.
At the pre-fight weigh-in, Bradley mentioned to HBO's Max Kellerman that he wanted to go on the offensive in the rematch. He didn't want the judges to decide the result. Considering Bradley has built his reputation on his speed and defense, that meant a major change in strategy.
Desert Storm no doubt followed through with his proclamation. He wasn't afraid to take the fight right to Pacquiao, even if it left him exposed at times.
Looking back, trying to out-punch a puncher the quality of Pacquiao may have been a major miscalculation. ESPN's Robert Flores was one of many watching the fight who felt that more aggression didn't automatically equal more success:
If anything, Bradley may have gone overboard a bit too much. In the seventh round, he goaded Pacquiao into the corner, which allowed Pac-Man to land a few critical blows before ducking out and avoiding any critical mistakes, per Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix:
Also hindering Bradley was what appeared to be a hand injury. Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole reported that he may have hurt his hand during the fight:
Everyone could see that there was some sort of issue, whether it was a significant injury or not:
That was exactly what Bradley didn't need chasing the fight in the later rounds. Once the 10th rolled around, it was clear he needed to register a knockout in order to win. With his right hand clearly in pain, he simply didn't have it in him to send Pacquiao to the canvas.
After the loss, Bradley told Pacquiao, "Congratulations. You deserved it," per USA Today's Bob Velin.
"I have no excuses," he added.
This is a massive win for Pacquiao. Heading into the fight, some questioned whether he should retire in the event of a loss. By securing a comfortable victory, Pac-Man has earned himself at least one more big-money fight.
Mannix projects a fifth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez:
Many boxing fans will be hoping against hope that the superfight with Floyd Mayweather isn't completely out of the question.
The one sure thing is that this is the last time you've seen Bradley and Pacquiao in the ring together. Pac-Man has nothing left to prove against Desert Storm after this rather one-sided victory.
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