Manny Pacquiao scored a convincing win by unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley on Saturday at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Arena, avenging his controversial 2012 loss to the formerly undefeated American.
Many people felt that Pac-Man had won the first bout, but two of the three judges disagreed and gave the win (and the title) to Bradley, setting up one of the most highly anticipated rematches in recent boxing history.
With the series now officially tied, it's only natural that some people would love to see a third fight between the two—one that would ultimately decide the victor between these two titans. Count The Desert Sun's Larry Bohannan amongst this group:
Looking forward to #PacquiaoBradley3— MyDesertGolf (@MyDesertGolf) April 13, 2014
But the world doesn't need a third fight, and neither does Pacquiao.
Sure, you could argue that Pac-Man would have loved to secure a knockout, but a unanimous win in which Bradley got severely out-punched, per CompuBox, is more than decisive enough:
As Lennox Lewis reminded us all, the majority of boxing fans and pundits still believe Pacquiao won both fights, and "Desert Storm" simply doesn't measure up to the future Hall of Famer:
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
Bradley lost badly on Saturday. Apart from a solid display of quickness in the first round and a few good shots with the right hook in the fourth, the defending champion spent much of his night throwing wild counterpunches and backing up into the ropes.
His footwork deteriorated midway through the fight as he couldn't keep up with the pace that was set by the 35-year-old, and save for a few wild punches, he hardly landed any power shots. He did very little to convince me he's deserving of a third fight, but that's not even the biggest reason Pacquiao should say no to such an offer.
As mentioned before, Pacquiao is 35 years old. Despite his age, the Filipino showed remarkably quick hands on Saturday, and while he didn't land as many power shots as we've seen him connect with in the past, the impact of his shots to the body was obvious.
He is still a fantastic boxer, but at his age, he only has a certain amount of fights left. As shared by Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, the first one of those fights is already nearly set:
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
Perhaps this will come across as disrespectful just one day after such a dominant win, but at some point, Pac-Man's skills will start declining. It may have already started, but with Father Time looking over his shoulder, the road beyond Pacquiao's peak is one that will grow steeper with every passing day.
By the time he'd actually come around to fighting Bradley again, there's a good chance the fans would be seeing a fighter who is well beyond his prime. Imagine an aged Pacquiao giving Bradley a third shot and losing to the American. Fans would remember the controversy surrounding his first loss and the dominant fashion in which he avenged himself.
The history books, on the other hand, would remember Bradley winning two fights to one.
And what about the Floyd Mayweather superfight? I don't think it will ever happen, but as long as there's a chance, it is one we'd all want to see while the two pound-for-pound greats are still relatively close to their prime.
I don't want to see Pac-Man waste a single round on a fighter he's really already beaten twice—not when that round could go to someone who is more worthy of being in the ring with Pacquiao while he's still fighting with the same hand speed that made him so legendary in the first place.
As shared by ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, even Bradley realised how badly he lost on Saturday:
Bradley showed me nothing that would warrant consideration for a rematch, and judging by his post-fight comments, even he realised that.
We've had the blessing of watching Pacquiao fight for years now, but that is bound to come to an end one day. Let us enjoy his greatness in fights that have a little more meaning than a third tumble with Bradley, before Pac-Man finally calls it quits.