Filipino gains revenge for past result against previously unbeaten American to win fight in Las Vegas on points
Pacquiao downs Bradley: in pictures
Read Gareth A Davies’s round-by-round account
Pacquiao’s top 10 fights
Filipino Congressman Manny Pacquiao was clinical earning a unanimous decision in his rematch with Timothy Bradley, avenging his controversial 2012 loss in their first meeting to claim the WBO welterweight crown.
Judges Craig Metcalfe and Michael Pernick scored the rematch 116-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Trowbridge favoured the Filipino congressman 118-110. I had it 117-111 for the man known in his native land as ‘The National Fist’. That was imprinted on Bradley’s head and body in this return rubber. It was conclusive.
Hurt in the fourth round by a hard overhand right, Pacquiao used his vast experience to get through a difficult second quarter of the fight to come back and dominate the contest.
It was the eleventh world title belt to be placed around Pacquiao’s waist in a 56-5-2 career spanning 19 years. Remarkably, he is also now 6-1 in rematches.
Pacquiao was delayed from attending the post-fight news conference due to a Y-shaped tear on the corner of his left eye and eyelid. It came from a clash of heads in the twelfth round.
“It was a bad tear and was an unusual shape, it was a clash of heads. He will have to have quite a few stitches and see the plastic surgeon,” explained Freddie Roach, the Hall of Fame trainer in the Filipino’s corner.
Bradley attended the news conference first, limping, his face bumpy like a cobbled street: “The dude still has it. He never ducks an opponent and he faced one of the best tonight. Manny Pacquiao is a true champion and I have great respect for him. I did my very best. I fought a courageous fight. No excuses, though, I’m good.”
Bradley admitted that he had gone for broke, looking for a knockout in the early rounds. “Big shots were the only way I was going to win the fight. If I didn’t knock him out I was going to lose rounds. I hear I hurt him with a big shot over the top in the fourth round. But he’s really experienced in the ring, I didn’t really notice it. I heard my corner shouting he was hurt.”
Pacquiao handed previously unbeaten Bradley his first defeat at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena with an aggressive, yet clinical performance which reminded many around the world how good he had been in his prime. This came close to that.
Pacquiao was aggressive and successful in the first three rounds, but after being wobbled in the fourth, Bradley was resurgent and had levelled the fight by the midway point. I gave Pacquiao the last six rounds, to win by 117-111, the same score in my book for the first meeting in June 2012.
Pacquiao left little doubt about the result of the rematch in the same arena where they met nearly two years ago. Bradley’s split-decision victory had astonished most ringside observers, who felt Pacquiao had earned a clear decision. “I knew I had to do more in this fight than I did in the last fight,” Pacquiao said afterwards in the ring.
Post-fight, Bradley revealed he had injured his right calf early in the contest. “I tried, I really tried,” Bradley said as he was magnanimous in defeat in the ring.
“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’s what we worked on in camp. That was the plan, but Pacquiao has great footwork.”
Pacquiao landed 35 per cent of his 563 punches, while Bradley connected with just 22 per cent of his 627 blows. Pacquiao’s jab was much more effective, landing 23 per cent to Bradley’s measly 11 percent, and the Pacman had a slight edge in landing 148 power punches to Bradley’s 109.
Pacquiao was accurate and more aggressive early, at the behest of Roach.
“I didn’t want to get careless,” Pacquiao said. “I picked up more steam in the second half when I made adjustments that Freddie gave me in the corner. Bradley was much better than in the first fight we had. He hurt me on the chin.”
Pacquiao landed a series of big left hands in the early rounds, knocking back Bradley with gusto. Bradley responded impressively in the fourth round, wobbling Pacquiao twice with a right hand.
The pace slowed in the fifth, with Bradley showing off his defence and movement while Pacquiao attempted to trap him against the ropes.
Pacquiao appeared to wobble Bradley late in the seventh round with a vicious combination, but failed to finish the fight. From thereonin, the fight was his. He owned it. This was vintage Pacquiao, without the cork-popping knockout at the end. But it was very, very, good.
Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth fight in late 2012, and he took nearly a year off before returning for an unspectacular victory over Brandon Rios late last year. A return with Marquez is the most likely next move, in fight No 5, but what we all now want to see more than ever is a contest with Floyd Mayweather Jnr.