So much for the demise of Manny Pacquiao.
Whenever Pac-Man’s name was brought up in discussions prior to his bout with Timothy Bradley, it was almost always in the context of what used to be. No longer was this once great fighter in his prime, and it was almost a coin toss any time he entered the ring whether he would come away victorious or not.
The controversial split-decision loss to Bradley was one thing, but when Pacquiao was knocked cold by Juan Manuel Marquez, it appeared like his prime was well in the rearview mirror.
Throw in the fact that Pacquiao hasn’t registered a knockout in a considerable amount of time, and there were some legitimate questions.
However, Pac-Man proved that he is still among boxing’s elite with an impressive victory over Bradley in the rematch. He reclaimed the WBO welterweight belt that he lost to Bradley in the first place and didn’t leave much wiggle room for the judges this time around either.
In fact, Pacquiao was given the unanimous decision by the scores of 116-112 twice and 118-110 after his incredible display of power and typical Pac-Man speed. The more than 15,000 people in attendance at the MGM were primarily thrilled with the outcome.
To his credit, Bradley was gracious in defeat, via Bob Velin of USA Today: "I tried, I really tried. I really wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world. I tried throwing something over the top. I knew I had to do more in this fight than the last fight."
What was perhaps most impressive about Pacquiao’s performance was his blocking ability. Bradley actually threw more punches than the lefty, but Bradley appeared to be going for the knockout with aggressive maneuvers. Pac-Man used footwork and positioning to avoid the crippling punches and proved that he is capable of doing more than just going on the offensive with speed.
Pac-Man didn’t get the elusive knockout he may have been searching for, but he moved to 56-5-2 on his career with the dominating performance.
The obvious question is what is next for the 19-year veteran, especially after such a vintage performance against Bradley.
He could very well end up with another chance at Marquez if Marquez beats Mike Alvarado May 17. If Alvarado registers the win, he could be Pacquiao’s next opponent instead.
Of course, the potential matchup with Floyd Mayweather is always looming over Pac-Man, especially after he registers any victory. Trainer Freddie Roach addressed those questions, via Gareth A Davies of The Daily Telegraph after the victory over Bradley: "We'd love to fight Mayweather but there have been so many excuses. He really doesn't seem to want to fight us, but we want that fight. I think my guy beats him.”
Nothing would make boxing fans happier than seeing this matchup.
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