Manny Pacquiao finished his rivalry with Timothy Bradley with the most convincing win of the three bouts. This time, Pacquiao was able to put Bradley on the canvas multiple times throughout the fight and severely hurt the California-born fighter, which is in contrast to his effort in the first two fights.
Pacquiao and Bradley fought for the third time last night, and, for the third time, the fight took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event, like the others, also aired on HBO PPV. There was a much different feel in the third this time around, and there was a stronger consensus surrounding Bradley’s chances of winning time around as a result of the momentum he’d built since his last encounter with Pacquiao.
But there was also a strong backlash from Pacquiao’s loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Without seeing Pacquiao compete since the loss and having it leave a lasting bad taste in the mouths of spectators, not to mention the shoulder surgery Manny would be returning from, the only assumption fans could make is this would be the worst version of Pacquiao we’d ever get.
The worst Manny against possibly the best version of Bradley with the new motivator-trainer Teddy Atlas and it was clear to see why so many were favoring Bradley.
And he looked good in the first round as Bradley answered the opening bell with a plan and ready to let things manifest without trying to force any one issue. Bradley was much more comfortable at the start of things.
Pacquiao got better as things continued forward, but his athleticism was game from the moment the bell sounded in the 1st.
It is hard to say really what Pacquiao we saw, but without getting caught up in which Manny we saw, we can agree on what welterweight we all saw, and that is likely the best in the division right now.
Bradley fought a stellar fight and was sharp even in rounds that he clearly lost. He was always in the fight even as the scores started to get away from him. However, Pacquiao displayed the kind of in-and-out footwork and put his punches together in ways that no other fighter could match – no other active fighter that is.
Bradley was able to land some solid leather on Pacquiao in the first half of the fight, but it was still mostly all Pacquiao’s fight.
After the first half was over, Pacquiao was in control but he was having a difficult time sustaining momentum. Bradley was desperate in his attempt to make the necessary adjustment.
Pacquiao scored his first knockdown in the fight after the halfway mark in the 7th round. It was a very technical knockdown in the sense that it was technically a knockdown and not a punch that truly hurt Bradley. Instead, Bradley’s glove touched and he never went down, so beating the count and recovering was of no concern.
It did give Pacquiao a slight jolt, but nothing he could truly capitalize off of in the fight.
Bradley did his best to pick his shots and was able to bounce back in the 8th. He seemed to really hurt Pacquiao with a hard right hand that he landed on the southpaw’s temple. Bradley continued his momentum in the 9th where he was having one of his best technically sound rounds in terms of tempo before being derailed with another knockdown.
The punch that created this knockdown landed much more flush than the other, but what was most impressive was the distance the punch traveled. Pacquiao did not load up or rear back on his punch but instead took a very short opening. The punch that sent Bradley to the canvas was started only a few inches from his face before connecting.
Bradley managed to get up but he lost all momentum at that point and was unable to secure enough of the fight to really make an impact on the scorecards which read 116-110, all in favor of Pacquiao.
The style match was interesting from the outset of the fight and it remained that way throughout the remainder of the fight. Pacquiao won by unanimous decision.
It wasn’t clear what either fighter was fighting for against the other before the night started, at least beyond the obvious redemption for Bradley. But for Pacquiao, revenge couldn’t have been so obvious when he clearly won the last contest and was branded a victim of faulty judging in the first one.
After the fight, Pacquiao admitted that he is still a bit confused about his intentions to stay retired, claiming that he would stay retired for now based on his immediate feelings of today.
It’s doubtful we’ve seen the last of Pacquiao, especially once Arum realizes that he can still lay claim to owning the best welterweight in boxing today now that Mayweather is gone.
As for Bradley, he admitted to having some memory loss after the fight, which is a bad sign for someone with very recent and well-documented brain trauma. It has been suggested by a former member of Bradley’s training team, Joel Diaz, that the fight concussions.