Many boxing fans and commentators believed that Manny Pacquiao outboxed Timothy Bradley in their first bout despite the split-decision loss, but the most important people in the MGM Grand agreed the second time around.
The judges rewarded Pac-Man’s impressive effort with a unanimous decision. Two gave him a 116-112 win, while the other scored it at 118-110.
Those in attendance were mostly thrilled, as Dan Rafael of ESPN.com pointed out when capturing the moment:
Clearly, the most important thing about Pacquiao’s revenge victory was the win itself. He needed that type of formidable outing to maintain his spot among boxing’s elite.
However, there were other takeaways to be had from the fight. Let’s look at a few.
Pac-Man is Resilient
Pac-Man was the obvious winner in the aftermath of the fight, but it was Bradley who came out aggressive in the early going.
Bradley seized momentum in the first round with a number of solid punches, and Rounds 2 and 3 went back and forth between the two fighters. In Round 4, Bradley landed a crippling right punch and nearly knocked Pacquiao out. It would have been easy to fold up right then and there for the southpaw, but he recovered and proceeded to take control of the fight.
Pac-Man landed a flurry of punches in Round 6 and never looked back. Considering where he was in Round 4, it was certainly impressive that Pacquiao came away with a relatively easy victory in the last few rounds.
The Knockout Days May be in the Past
As great as Pac-Man was in his win, there is a real possibility that the destructive force of nature he was in his prime is officially in the rearview mirror.
Pacquiao now sports a 56-5-2 record with 38 knockouts, but he hasn’t registered a KO since 2009. Trainer Freddie Roach talked about the fact that Pac-Man just didn’t appear to have the power that fans have been accustomed to, per Greg Beacham of The Boston Globe:
I think he was doing his best to stop him. He was throwing combinations. I told him, ‘All you have to do is outbox this guy. You can outbox him in and out, all night long.’ I thought he had the killer instinct. It just didn’t seem like he had the power he usually has. It was a little bit slower than he seemed in the past.
Bradley discussed the same topic after the fight. ‘‘He still has the real sharp snap on his punches. [But] I believe in the first fight, his punching power was way harder.”
Pac-Man’s footwork and speed with his hands still appeared to be at a world-class level though, even if the power wasn’t quite there.
The Floyd Mayweather Dream is Still on Life Support
Boxing fans may never get the chance to see the Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather battle that they have been looking for in the past few years, but there is still a sliver of hope because Pac-Man won against Bradley.
Considering the previous loss to Bradley, the knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and his time away from the sport, if Pacquiao had lost this time around it could have marked the end of his career as a headliner boxer. Instead, we can still hold on to that brief glimpse of optimism for this potential bout.
Pac-Man seemed ready in comments via Beacham, saying, “It’s really hard to talk about that. How many years, days, months we’re talking about that? The line is open 24 hours. If he’s awake and he wants to fight, the fight will be.”
Here’s to hoping Mayweather is awake and ready to fight.
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