Manny Pacquiao made the decision easy for the judges this time, manhandling Timothy Bradley throughout their rematch in Las Vegas that erased any concerns over Pac-Man's perceived downfall.
The 35-year-old exorcised his demons at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, earning a victory by unanimous decision over Bradley to reclaim the WBO Welterweight Title.
It would have taken some outrageously incompetent judging to bungle this contest, but the three rulers did their job, scoring Pacquiao a decisive win over Desert Storm. Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole laid out the exact tallies.
Going into the fight, the question loomed: How much does Pacquiao have left in the tank? He answered emphatically on Saturday night. Plenty.
As promised, an aggressive Pacquiao took the fight to Bradley, landing 198 of 563 punches according to CompuBox. While he failed to secure his first knockout since 2009, Pac-Man capitalized on his opponent's brash attempts at attaining a KO.
Per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, Bradley lamented his inability to take Pacquiao down, which ultimately handed Desert Storm his first career loss.
"I tried, I really tried," Bradley said. "I wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world. I lost to one of the greatest fighters in boxing. I kept trying to throw something over the top, that was the plan. I knew I had to do more in this fight than in the last fight."
Following his controversial loss to Bradley in 2012, Pacquiao suffered a knockout defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, giving the Filipino fighter the first consecutive losses of his career.
After those two defeats, his status as one of the world's premier boxers was tossed into question. Beating Brandon Rios assuaged those worries some, but the 27-year-old was carefully picked to return Pac-Man to the win column.
After Saturday night, he holds a victory (and another deserved one) over a man who has won all 30 of his other fights. That includes a win over Marquez, who brandished Pacquiao's with his one true loss over the past nine years.
After avenging his so-called loss to Bradley, his next bout could offer him another chance at redemption. The winner of May 17's fight between Marquez and Mike Alvarado will likely get a stab at Pacquiao.
It's easier to just remember the most recent events, but Pac-Man is still 2-1-1 against the one man who has bested him to spark his alleged downfall. Even during the loss, Pacquiao held the advantage before suffering a sixth-round knockout.
Per CompuBox, he landed 94 of his 256 punches (37 percent) to Marquez's 52 out of 246 (21 percent). One punch can change everything, but that was his only knockout endured during the 21st century. It proved that Pacquiao is beatable but not that he's washed up.
Pacquiao is no longer the guy who obliterated Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto, but he doesn't need to be to preserve a spot at the sport's top table. Even at 35, he is still a sharp fighter who won't have to prepare his swan song anytime soon.
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