Manny Pacquiao left no doubt this time, gaining revenge for his June 2012 controversial split decision loss to Timothy Bradley by dominating all but a few rounds of their 12-round fight and cruising to a clear unanimous decision victory over Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night.
Two judges scored the fight 116-112 for Pacquiao, while a third had the fight 118-110, which was a more accurate reflection of Pacquiao’s dominant showing in the ring. While the fight featured plenty of action and exciting exchanges between the two fighters, neither man hit the canvas.
The Inquisitr scorecard had Manny Pacquiao winning the fight 117-111, or nine rounds to three. The win reclaims the WBO welterweight belt for Manny Pacquiao that he lost to Timothy Bradley in their first fight two years ago.
After the fight, Pacquiao was his typically gracious self, complimenting Tim Bradley probably more than the American deserved.
“He’s very tough. It’s a good fight, he gave me a good fight. It’s not that easy,” said Pacquiao. “He hit me here [on the chin.] I listened to my corner. I hit him a lot of solid punches and he’s still standing.”
Bradley’s best moment of the fight came in the fourth round when he connected with a looping right hand that appeared to momentarily stun Manny Pacquiao, but for the rest of the fight, Bradley tried to recapture that moment.
As a result, Timothy Bradley looked as if he came into the rematch that he had so craved with no real strategy to beat Manny Pacquiao. He often resorted to mugging and taunting, standing in the corner and waving Manny Pacquiao to come in and get him.
When Timothy Bradley did throw punches, they were wild, roundhouse shots that had very little chance of landing against a fighter the caliber of Manny Pacquiao.
“I was trying to catch him over the top, that was the game plan,” Bradley said after the fight. “I was going for a knockout. He was the better fighter tonight.”
Coming into the fight, Bradley made a central issue out of whether or not Manny Pacquiao still felt the “fire” he needed to win a tough fight. But Pacquiao had denied that he is any less motivated now than ever, despite having earned about $300 million in the ring, been elected to congress in the Philippines, becoming a movie star in his home country and pretty much achieving everything he ever set out to achieve.
When the two met on the HBO program Face Off, Bradley put the question directly to Pacquiao.
“That hunger that he’s looking for, that’s no longer there and he can’t get it back. It’s gone,” Bradley said to interviewer Max Kellerman, with Manny Pacquiao sitting across the table looking right at him. “It’s gone. It is, Manny. It’s gone. It’s not there anymore. I truly believe that. The killer instinct, that’s what I’m saying. He’s not the same as far as that.”
Pacquiao’s only response? “I pray for that, another fire.”
Was Pacquiao’s prayer for fire answered Saturday against Bradley? Maybe not. He put on a mostly clinical, technical — though proficient — performace.
But maybe Manny Pacquiao doesn’t need “fire” anymore. At age 35 with 63 fights on his ledger, against the best possible opponents with only one obvious exception, Manny Pacquiao proved tonight that his wealth of skill and experience are enough to carry him through for at least the “couple more years” that, he said Saturday, he plans to keep boxing.