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23 JUNE 2018

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Pacquiao Topples Bradley in Rematch, Evens Score

By: Mike Sloan ( at ringside


LAS VEGAS It’s been almost two years since they first engaged in battle, Manny Pacquiao -- and the majority of the boxing world – believed that he was robbed against Timothy Bradley. “Pac-Man” appeared to out-box and out-work Bradley back in June 2012 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, though two of the three ringside judges saw it reversed. Saturday night in the same venue, in a virtual replica of their first encounter, the judges got it right.


Bradley began the rematch by boxing beautifully, keeping a near perfect distance and sticking his jab in the Filipino’s face. He wasn’t landing a high number of clean, hard shots, but his offense was keeping Pacquiao honest and unable to find the sort of rhythm he enjoys. But for what Bradley said was a leg injury early in the contest, the Palm Springs resident switched his approach up and it cost him his perfect professional ledger.


Instead of jabbing effectively and making Pacquiao pause and/or miss, Bradley opted to back up and goad his foe into traps. The only problem, though, was that he mainly threw one punch at a time. Pacquiao, in turn, began moving side to side and in and out and putting together blazing combos. When he opened up his vast arsenal, Pacquiao grew more effective and seized total control of the bout.


Like their initial encounter, there were scattered bursts of toe-to-toe exchanges, though they rarely lasted more than a few seconds. Bradley found himself pinned along the ropes or trapped in a corner repeatedly and when he did, he continuously dared the eight-division champion to bomb away. Bradley was able to dodge and block the overwhelming majority of the onslaught, contrary to what the thousands in attendance thought. But what cost him dearly was that he hardly made Pacquiao pay for the numerous punches he missed.


Bradley was eventually able to get back into what allowed him to win the early rounds - jabbing and moving - late in the fight, but his lack of punching power prevented him from mounting any sort of miraculous comeback. The American landed his fair share of power shots down the stretch, but Pac-Man walked right through the attacks and was able to answer everything in short order.


The two clashed heads with about 20 seconds left in the fight and the incidental infraction opened up a gash above Pacquiao’s left eye. After the ringside physician inspected his wound, he was allowed to continue but with 15 seconds in the contest, time was essentially out for Bradley. “Desert Storm” came up short.


“Pacquiao fought a great fight,” Bradley said afterward. “His team, his corner, had a great game plan and they used it perfectly. I take my hat off to Pacquiao. He’s a great fighter and he did what he had to do. He’s a tough fighter.”


In the end, Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) was awarded a unanimous decision via tallies of 116-112 (twice) and 118-110 to snatch back the WBO welterweight title that Bradley wrested from him in 2012. All three virtual scorers also had it for Pacquiao (Sloan: 115-113, Mike Fridley: 116:112, Gary Randall: 118-111). Bradley, for his efforts, fell for the first time as a pro; he now stands at 31-1 with 12 KOs.


“I’m very happy for the win,” Pacquiao said after the tussle. “I felt good, I felt strong … Bradley is a great opponent but I was the better man tonight.”


Pacquiao didn’t elaborate who he wants to take on next, saying that he leaves those decisions into the hands of Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.


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