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:
The only difference in this fight was the judges got it right this time. Bradley is a warrior. Just not in Mannys league. #PacBradley— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) April 13, 2014
"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:
These are four of the best rounds of boxing I've seen in a while. Manny-Bradley, awesome— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) April 13, 2014
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:
Bradley is being WAY more aggressive in this fight than he was in the first. Still don't see how he wins decision. #PacBradley— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) April 13, 2014
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:
Bradley waves Pacquiao in. Manny obliges but is careful to move in and out of danger. Bradley obviously looking for a MP mistake— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 13, 2014
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:
I am hearing Bradley may have hurt his hand. Unsure now. Just passing along but that's unverified— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) April 13, 2014
Everyone could see that there was some sort of issue, whether it was a significant injury or not:
Bradley has to be having a problem with that right hand. Didn't use it at all in the 11th.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 13, 2014
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:
And get ready: If Juan Manuel Marquez beats Mike Alvarado next month, it's Pacquiao-Marquez 5 in the fall.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 13, 2014
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.