It seems like Manny Pacquiao can move on in his boxing career after getting something straight: He’s a much better boxer than Timothy Bradley, and finally getting the right scorecards to show for it, as there was no mistake in their second fight, with a unanimous decision going his way, not to mention the usual impressive amount of money.
The judges scored it 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112. The final five rounds of the fight seemed to be a complete joke and although Pacquiao didn’t get the knockout once again, he didn’t let go and coast in the final rounds like on his first fight with Bradley, feeling he needs to be a lot more convincing this time in order to ensure that no judge puts the wrong kind of idea in his head about how to score the fight.
Bradley went in with a very weird strategy – knocking Pacquiao out. Now Bradley is a very good fighter, but he hardly has any power, and it almost looked as if he went into the fight trying to prove otherwise. He has only one knockout since 2007, and even that came against Joel Casamayor. Bradley was throwing wild swings while getting hit constantly, once again finding it very hard to connect, let alone demonstrate any kind of power.
In the previous fight, the judges who gave the fight to Bradley said they thought he threw more punches. Bradley once again attempted more, but connected only 141 times on his 627 throws, 22%. Pacquiao? 35%, 198-of-563. Maybe there was some sloppiness from Pacquiao, but he was aggressive for most of the fight, and accurate enough to make it quite clear who should have his hand raised high at the end, and where the WBO Welterweight belt should go.
Was this the young Pacquiao suddenly coming to the ring at 35? The first few rounds, despite Bradley saying he had some problems with his right calf, were quite wild. Bradley kept throwing shots from the outside, so Pacquiao went to work on the inside, staggering Bradley a couple of times and sending him to the ropes on one occasion. There were quite a few quick and fiery exchanges that got the fans on their feet, but Pacquiao was the winner on most of them.
The second half of the fight was all Pacquiao. Bradley’s face was red and swollen by the end of the 10th round, especially on the right side, as Pacquiao’s left hand was constantly connecting in the right place. Bradley knew his first loss ever was on its way, but he gave it his best shot, and avoided getting knocked out. He actually seemed quite confident before the decision was announced, but maybe it was simply being happy with his performance and the $6 million (plus a share of the PPV) he was going to receive.
Bradley is still one of the best in his weight class, but he’s no match for Manny Pacquiao. Not two years ago, not right now. Pacquiao moves on with at least $22 million more going to his bank account, although it’s not quite certain who he fights next. There’s a title elimination bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado next month, both Top Rank fighters, making it likely Bob Arum will set something up. I’m not sure fighting Marquez is the best thing for Pacquiao, but if he’s in the business of avenging losses, that seems to be the natural course – getting in the ring with him for a fifth time, although there are plenty of other fights fans would like to see.