Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley Final Verdict: Pacman outguns 'swinging for fences'

Bradley says he fought from the first round with a right calf injury

Manny Pacquiao avenged a polarising loss to Timothy Bradley and regained the World Boxing Organisation welterweight world title Saturday with a 12-round unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten American.

The Filipino ring icon improved to 56-5 with two drawn and 38 wins inside the distance as he recaptured the title he lost to Bradley on June 9, 2012.

Although he couldn't get his first knockout win since 2009, Pacquiao lived up to his pre-fight promise to come out with more aggression, denying Bradley's avowed aim of sending him into retirement with another defeat.

"I think I can go another two years," said Pacquiao, who had been stung by Bradley's pre-fight claim that at 35, Pacquiao had lost the fire that had made him one of the most feared fighters in the world.

"I'm so happy to be world champion again," Pacquiao said. "Tim Bradley was not an easy fight."

Bradley, who said he fought from the first round with a right calf injury, fell to 31-1, with 12 knockouts.

"Life goes on," Bradley said of his first pro defeat. "It's back to the gym. Not a big deal."

Judge Glenn Trowbridge scored the bout 118-110 for Pacquiao, while both Michael Pernick and Canada's Craig Metcalf saw it 116-112 for the 'Pacman,' whose every move was cheered by the star-studded crowd of 15,601 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

After a tight first round, Pacquiao made his power felt in the second.

The third saw both fighters exchange at a furious rate, Pacquiao again landing the more damaging blows.

But Bradley rocked Pacquiao in the fourth, and Pacquiao said California's ‘Desert Storm’ was an improved fighter from the one who took that bitterly debated split decision in their first fight.

Even the WBO said upon review that Pacquiao should have won that fight on June 9, 2012.

Instead he saw a 15-match fight winning streak end, and went on to be knocked out later in 2012 by Juan Manuel Marquez.
I had to do more

"Bradley is better from the first fight," Pacquiao said. "He hurt me on the chin."

"I knew I had to do more this time than I did the last time," he added.

Pacquiao had launched his comeback from the back-to-back 2012 defeats with a lopsided points win over Brandon Rios last November.

That victory was a clinical display of boxing skill. Saturday's victory showcased more of the old "killer instinct," with Bradley saying it was clear that Pacquiao was "going for it".

But trainer Freddie Roach said Bradley's unexpected strategy of seeking a big knockout blow of his own caught him and Pacquiao by surprise.

"He was swinging for the fences all night," Roach said of Bradley, who said he thought it was the only way he could win the fight.

But as the pace slowed in the later rounds, Pacquiao dominated, putting together multi-punch combinations that kept Bradley off balance.
"I tried, I really tried," said Bradley. "I wanted that knockout. I kept trying to throw something over the top, that's what the plan was."

But Bradley trainer Joel Diaz said he knew the plan had gone out the window when Bradley came to the corner after the first round saying he thought he had torn his right calf muscle.

Diaz tried massaging it, but Bradley told him to stop because it hurt.

"From that point on, I knew I didn't have much to work with, because our plan was to dominate Pacquiao and we couldn't do it," Diaz said.
The injury was later diagnosed as a strain, and Bradley said he had "no excuses".

"Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world maybe the best ever," he said.

After throwing few punches in the 11th, a desperate Bradley swung wildly in the 12th, and Pacquiao finished the fight with a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads late in the final round.

Roach said Pacquiao needed stitches to close the jagged cut.

Pacquiao's next opponent could be the winner of the May 17 bout between Mike Alvarado and Marquez.

If Marquez wins, he could meet Pacquiao for the fifth time.

"I have no problem with fighting Marquez again, but that's up to my promoter, Bob Arum," Pacquiao said.

Blow by blow, as it happened

Round 12: Bradley is trailing and definitely needs a knockout. It is Pacquiao who catches Bradley with a left as both slug it out in the final round. Bradley lands a few jabs but Pacquiao pins him on the ropes with heavy artillery. Bradley is attacking more in desperation but Pacquiao is standing his ground but a cut has opened over his left eye. Bradley finishes strong but Pacquiao is the clear winner.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 11: Bradley is looking to unload with his right but Pacquiao is proving to be elusive. Pacquiao is doing the leading off with his right jabs with Bradley back peddling. Pacman is calling the shot despite Bradley sneaking in a couple of rights. Bradley knows his title is slipping away as Pacquiao catches him with another heavy left hand. Bradley is tryiing to counter attack with his right but Pacquiao is not backing away.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 10: Bradley needs to win by a knockout but he is unable to break Pacquiao's defence. Pacquiao is outboxing him, peppering the champion with jabs with Bradley looking ungainly as he tries to slip out. Pacquiao is scoring heavily with both hands with Bradley having no answer. Manny is looking more like the eight-division world champion now.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 9: Bradley connects with a leaping right but Pacquiao is content to box than slug. The stadium erupts as Bradley loses his composure after catching a couple of heavy left hands from Pacquiao. The Filipino pins Bradley on the ropes with another flurry of blows. Bradley is trying to keep the southpaw at bay with left jabs but this has been Pacquiao's best round by far.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 8: Pacquiao is in command in the centre of the ring with Bradley failing to hustle him. Pacman is dictating the pace and is making the champion back away. Bradley lands a left jab while Pacquiao answers with a heavy left of his own. Bradley is once again backing away to the ropes. Pacquiao is outscoring Bradley who is swinging wildly.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 7: Bradley is trying to step up the pace but Pacquiao moves out of range before delivery counter punches. Pacquiao is outgunning Bradley who appears to be running out of steam. Pacquiao is displaying solid defence as Bradley tries to lands body blows. Pacquiao lands several unanswered blows with Bradley lyiing on the ropes.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 6: Bradley attacks forcing Pacquiao to cover up in defence. Pacquiao tries to scores with left uppercuts but misses when Bradley has his hands down. Pacquiao is boxing but not landing his heavy artillery. Pacquiao finishes the round strong landing a flurry of blows with Bradley on the ropes.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 5: Bradley is attacking the body with uppercut while Pacquiao looks more intense but has yet to unload. Pacquiao catches him with an uppercut but Bradley lands a heavy right hand on the face. Bradley is forcing Pacquiao to back away and is taunting Pacquiao by keeping his hands low.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Bradley

Round 4: Pacquiao is circling around Bradley who is trying to catch up on lost ground leading his left jabs and trying to land his right. Pacquiao sneeks in a left but Bradley staggers him with a heavy right. Pacquiao lands body shots but Bradley is on the offensive unloading with both hands.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Bradley

Round 3: Pacquiao is looking sharp and aggressive with Bradley ducking for cover. Pacman is calling the shots in the centre pummelling Bradley with a flurry of combinations before laying on the ropes. Bradley is swinging wildly while Pacquiao catches him with left jabs and uppercuts. Bradley changes his stance to southpaw briefly but Pacquiao is doing the fighting while Bradley is bobbing and weaving.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 for Pacquiao

Round 2: Pacquiao has begun unleashing his big left hands with Bradley getting tangled in the ropes. Bradley is not backing off and staggers Pacquiao with a right.

Emirates 24/7 scores 10-9 to Pacquiao

Round 1: Bradley does the leading off and lands some solid rights with Pacquiao trying to catch him on the counter. Bradley has the edge.

Emirates 24/7 scores it 10-9 to Bradley

The undefeated champion Timothy 'Desert Storm' Bradley is seeking his 32nd career win.

Southpaw Pacquiao is looking for his 56th career win.

The champion Bradley is looking intense as he comes out of the tunnel.

The challenger Pacquiao has entered the ring and is saying a prayer in the blue corner.

Pacquiao is walking out of the tunnel with a smile all over his face to thunderous applause.

Ashanti has just sung the United States national anthem before the Main Event.

Pac-Man is clearly the favourite and champion in the eyes of many as fans greet Bradley with boos when his picture was flashed on the big screen at MGM Grand Arena.

The preliminaries are now over and the crowd are waiting with bated breath for Pacquiao-Bradley 2.

Ray Beltran wins by unanimous decision to become the new NABO Lightweight champion.

Pacquiao and Bradley have begun shadow boxing in the dressing room after taping their golden fists.

Two down and one to go in the undercard of the Main Event Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 for the WBO Welterweight title at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Arash Usmanee from Canada and Ray Beltran are fighting for the NABO Lightweight Championship.

Bryan Vasquez has successfully defended his WBA Interim Super Featherweight Championship, claiming a unanimous decision over Jose Felix Jr.

Gutsy Jessie Vargas has claimed a unanimous decision over Khabib Allakhverdiev to win the WBA Interim Super Lightweight Title.

Bradley is confident that he can send 35-year old Philippine boxing icon Pacquiao into retirement after beating him decisively the second time.

"I got the win but it felt like I lost because I didn't get any credit from the fans and it's important to get the credit from the fans. I feel I need to showcase myself and win by a large margin," said Bradley, the former WBO and two-time WBC light-welterweight champion.

"I am telling you man, both of us have a lot to prove in this fight. The reason why Pacquiao really needs to win this fight - because if he loses this fight, think about it - his career might be over."

Pacquiao concedes 30-year old Bradley is a much improved fighter since his controversial win in 2012 but the eight-division world champion is confident he would be the one to raise his hand after the rematch.

"I'm always thinking about his (Bradley's) challenge that to me that I don't have that killer instinct or hunger anymore," said Pacquiao.

"So I have to prove that to him and to myself. I will show him my speed and my power.

"I feel that in my physical body that I can still fight and that's what I believe."

Timothy Bradley has scored an upset split decision win over Manny Pacquiao God only knows how, was the famous words of the HBO commentator after the result of their first fight was announced.

Most boxing analysts believed Pacquiao should have won by unanimous decision after landing the more power punches than Bradley who was peeved by the fact that he was never accepted as a champion.

However, since that controversial fight, Pacquiao was brought down to earth by a stunning sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth meeting.

Bradley earned more respect after beating Marquez followed by a unanimous  decision against Ruslan Provodnikov.

Pacquiao bounced back with a unanimous win by decision against Brandon Rios in his only fight last year.

Bradley believes it is time for redemption against Pacquiao who maintains he has nothing to prove.

Pacquiao is not out for revenge. He maintains that he still has the hunger and killer instinct.

THE PREVIEW

Manny Pacquiao wants a decisive victory over Timothy Bradley in their eagerly anticipated welterweight world title rematch Saturday in Las Vegas as he bids to avenge a controversial loss two years ago.

America's Bradley, renowned for his amazing durability, snapped the Philippine icon's 15-fight unbeaten streak with a debatable split decision triumph in their first showdown on June 9, 2012.

The 30-year-old Bradley is out to prove he was deserving of the World Boxing Organization belt he seized that night and has since defended twice.

For Pacquiao, 35, whose loss to Bradley was followed by a sixth-round knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez, it's imperative he prove his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios in his only fight of 2013 marked a real rebirth of his ring career.

"This is a 'must-win' situation for us," Pacquiao's Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said.

Even though Roach and "Pacman" want a clear-cut victory, both said Pacquiao - who has had to fend off talk of retirement - can't go in aiming for a knockout.

Instead, they say he must press his attack consistently, avoiding the fallow minutes that apparently cost him the decision in the first Bradley fight, even though Pacquiao landed more punches and more power punches overall.

"I'm not thinking about a knockout," the Filipino said. "My focus is to throw a lot of punches. I'm going to be aggressive. If the knockout comes, it's a bonus."

Added Roach: "We're looking to win every round, one at a time."

'MANNY CAN PUNCH'

Southpaw Pacquiao, the only man to win world titles in eight weight divisions, staked his claim to boxing's pound-for-pound crown with a spate of impressive knockout victories in 2008 and 2009.

That included a ninth-round stoppage of David Diaz that proved Pacquiao could step up to lightweight and retain his fearsome power.

He went on to stop Oscar de la Hoya in a 2008 welterweight bout, and delivered a spectacular second-round knockout of Britain's Ricky Hatton in 2009.

Later that year, he punished Miguel Cotto en route to a 12th-round technical knockout in another welterweight bout - but Pacquiao hasn't finished off an opponent inside the distance since.

Debate has raged as to whether he has lost his knockout power, or perhaps become too "compassionate" towards opponents after a deepening of his Catholic faith.

"Manny can punch - he does have knockout power," Roach insisted Thursday as the fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena drew near.

If Pacquiao has held back out of compassion for his foes, Roach said he'd likely learned his lesson in his most recent defeats.

In the 2012 loss to Marquez, Pacquiao had the Mexican star on the canvas in the fifth round and in trouble in the sixth before Marquez connected for a stunning one-punch knockout.

Pacquiao, who owns a record 55-5 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, puts that defeat down to "carelessness."

However, it's given Bradley some boasting rights since the American has since edged Marquez in a duel between the last two men to beat Pacquiao.

That win over Marquez followed Bradley's 12-round decision over Ruslan Provodnikov, in which the American absorbed a massive amount of punishment before emerging triumphant.

'TOUGH GUY'

Bradley's durability - on display against Provodnikov - is one reason not to seek a knock-out, Roach said.

"He's a very resilient, tough, tough guy," Roach said.

But Roach believes that Pacquiao has the skill to cope with Bradley's slick movement, and showed against Rios that he can still put together long combinations that will make the difference against the counter-punching Bradley.

"We're using a lot of angles and hopefully that will nullify his defence," Roach said. "We'll set traps, catch him on the ropes - when we have him on the ropes, Manny knows what to do."

And if the chance to knock out Bradley does come, Roach believes Pacquiao will take it without hesitation, fired by Bradley's pre-fight claim that Pacquiao had lost his "killer instinct."

"When we're on the mitts we talk sometimes about strategy and what's going to happen," Roach said.

"He told me one day, 'When I hurt him, this is the combination I'm going to finish him with.'

"I was so happy to hear that."

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