Pacquiao gets back at Bradley

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

CEBU CITY (3rd Update) -- Now, it's settled.

Manny Pacquiao outclassed Timothy Bradley in 12 rounds Sunday (Saturday in the US) to win back the WBO welterweight championship he lost to the latter last year by controversial split decision.

The victory by unanimous decision was a redemption for Pacquiao, who needed a convincing win against Bradley and proved that he was the rightful winner of their first encounter 19 months back.

Pacquiao, who improved his win-draw-loss record to 56-5-2, pounced on Bradley several times in the fight that thrilled the more than 15,000 fans in attendance at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas en route to scoring the unanimous verdict.

Pacquiao vs Bradley 2
Manny Pacquiao, left, of the Philippines, drives Timothy Bradley into the ropes in their WBO welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Las Vegas. Pacquiao won by unanimous decision. (AP Photo)

The Pacman, who is now the most beloved boxing personality in the world, had the opportunity to knock the lights out of Bradley but failed to finish off the tough American fighter, who was very gracious in defeat.

Pacquiao said he delivered numerous solid blows but Bradley proved to be so tough to send down to the canvas.

"I hit him (Bradley) with solid punches, but he's still standing," Pacquiao told Top Rank after the fight. "He has really improved. I kept on looking for a knockout, but he constantly moves around."
Bradley, who was dealt his first-ever loss in 32 fights, applauded the decision when it was announced, and congratulated Pacquiao in the ring.

"He (Pacquiao) was the better man tonight," said Bradley, who claimed he injured his calf early on. "You won the fight, you deserved the win. I have no excuses. I gotta go back to the gym and do more and be a lot better."

Crowd cheering for Manny Pacquiao
CAGAYAN DE ORO. The crowd cheers for Manny Pacquiao after he lands a left hand on the face of Timothy Bradley at an outdoor eatery in Agora Bus Terminal in Cagayan de Oro City. (Erwin M. Mascarinas)

Pacquiao pursued and peppered Bradley around the ring with an aggressive performance recalling the Pacman in his prime. Bradley fought back with counterpunching and elusiveness, but Pacquiao kept up his attack while Bradley struggled in the closing rounds.

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 astonished most ringside observers, who felt Pacquiao had earned a clear decision.

Judges Craig Metcalfe and Michael Pernick scored the rematch 116-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Trowbridge favored the Filipino congressman 118-110. The Associated Press scored it 116-112 for Pacquiao. Sun.Star saw it 117-111 for the fighting pride of the Philippines.

Pacquiao landed 35 percent of his 563 punches, while Bradley connected with just 22 percent of his 627 blows. Pacquiao's jab was much more effective, landing 23 percent to Bradley's measly 11 percent, and the Pacman had a slight edge in landing 148 power punches to Bradley's 109.

Pacquiao's performance righted one of the biggest perceived wrongs in recent boxing history. Pacquiao was an eight-division world champion on 15-fight winning streak when Bradley was awarded a split decision in their last bout.

Pacquiao was more aggressive and accurate from the opening minutes of the rematch, sticking to trainer Freddie Roach's pleas to take the action to Bradley. They exchanged big shots in the opening rounds, but Pacquiao appeared to wear out Bradley with the heavy early pace - and the Pacman never slowed down.

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 defense 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 Bradley stood with his back against the ropes and defiantly encouraged it, blocking most of the shots.

Bradley appeared to pretend to have wobbly legs at one point after a Pacquiao miss, but his open mouth betrayed his weariness while Pacquiao steadily racked up rounds midway through the fight.

Bradley came on strong in the 12th, and the fighters' heads collided late in the round. Pacquiao avoided any trouble until the final bell, when he did a short dance step to his corner.

Now that the prospect of retiring to politics has been dashed away with his stellar victory, Pacquiao's boxing journey will certainly continue at age 35.

The question is how long will he stay on his journey, considering that he's ran out of worthy opponents to take on. Who will he fight next?

Fans worldwide are wishing for the most-awaited showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr., but Pacquiao said it's very hard to arrange a fight with the reluctant Mayweather.

The most likely next opponent for Pacquiao is the winner between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado, who are scheduled to square off in the next few weeks.

Pacquiao, meanwhile, was likely to surpass $700 million in pay-per-view revenue and will soon fly back home to his wife Jinky, who is expected to give birth to their fifth child anytime this month.

Undercard results

In the undercard, Ray Beltran (29-6-1, 17 KOs) won the vacant NABO lightweight throne with a 12-round unanimous decision over Arash Usmanee (20-2-1, 10 KOs), who came in as a late replacement for Rocky Martinez. Beltran triumphed by scores of 118-110, 117-111, 117-111.

Undefeated super-welterweight Jessie Vargas (24-0, 9 KOs) escaped with a 12-round unanimous verdict over erstwhile unbeaten WBA interim champion Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-1, 9 KOs), who absorbed a bad cut over the left eye halfway through the bout. Judges scored the fight 115-113, 115-113 and 117-111 in Vargas' favor.

Costa Rican champion Bryan Vasquez (34-1, 17 KOs) kept his WBA interim super-featherweight crown versus previously undefeated and highly-favored Jose Felix Jr. (26-1-1, 21 KOs) of Mexico, who was deducted a point in the ninth round for using his knee.

The point deduction proved to be a plus factor for Vasquez, who triumphed with scores of 117-110, 114-113, 114-113.

Olympics light-heavyweight bronze medal winner Oleksandr Gvozdyk made a stunning professional debut as he pulled off a devastating combo right at the opening round to knock out Mike Montoya (4-3-1, 2 KOs) just before the bell.

In the other bouts of the night, two-time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez (10-0, 9 KOs) knocked out Adrian Perez (10-5-1, 1 KO) in Round 4 to grab the NABF junior super-featherweight championship, Olympic middleweight silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (2-0, 1 KO) outpointed Pubilo Pena (2-1, 1 KO) over six rounds, and undefeated light-heavyweight Sean Monaghan (21-0, 14 KOs) scored a fifth-round stoppage over Joe McCreedy (15-7-2, 6 KOs) to stay as WBC Continental Americas title-holder. (With AP/Sunnex)

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