Manny Pacquiao made sure that there was absolutely no doubt who won this time around against Timothy Bradley in what was ultimately a dominating performance.
The southpaw enacted a form of revenge and regained his WBO welterweight title in impressive fashion, and he was rewarded with a unanimous decision from the judges in the process. Two awarded a 116-112 victory, while the other scored it at 118-110.
The more than 15,000 fans at the MGM were mostly pro-Pacquiao, and they responded in kind when the decision was made. Dan Rafael of ESPN.com captured the scene:
Pac-Man acknowledged that the victory was anything but easy in comments that come via Rafael:
He gave me a good fight. He's not that easy. I listened to my corner about keeping my hands up and timing. He threw a lot of punches. He threw wide, wide, wide hooks. I got hit one time and said it's not good to be careless.
While Pacquiao was the clear winner, it was Bradley who came out aggressively in the early going. He attacked Pac-Man with a number of punches and appeared to have some momentum. Rounds 2 and 3 were both back-and-forth affairs, as the fighters traded flurries in an attempt to establish something of a rhythm.
The first critical moment of the bout came in Round 4, though, when Bradley nearly sent the Pacquiao supporters home disappointed.
Bradley connected on a crippling right punch and knocked Pac-Man back. Pacquiao recovered just in time as Bradley’s corner urged him to go for the knockout. It appeared as if Bradley was doing just that and swung somewhat wildly with over-the-top punches that didn’t really connect.
It was Bradley’s best chance to win the fight, and the fact that he let it slip by served as something of foreshadowing for the rest of the bout.
Pacquiao started to seize control near the end of Round 6 when he landed a flurry of classic Pacquiao-speed punches that established momentum that carried over to the seventh. It was there that he dominated Bradley and unleashed multiple combinations and a crippling body shot.
Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated pointed out that Bradley was almost asking for it during the decisive round:
From there, it seemed clear to both fighters that Bradley’s only real chance at victory was a knockout in the latter stages. Pacquiao was much more conservative and showed off his blocking abilities and elusive speed. Bradley never could connect on the winning punch that he needed, and the decision was essentially made for the judges.
Given the fact that Bradley and Pac-Man have split their last two bouts, it would make sense to some that a rubber match would be in the cards in the near future. However, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated offered a logical counter to that line of thinking:
So if we aren’t going to see a rubber match between Pacquiao and Bradley, the obvious question is whether we will finally be treated to a Floyd Mayweather and Pac-Man showdown. The southpaw appeared to be in vintage form against Bradley, so if there was ever a time to do it, it would be within the next couple of years.
We can at least dream, right?
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