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Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao (right) delivers a right hand to Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 12. Pacquiao won a unanimous decision.  (Photo by Dr. Ed de la Vega)


rich.mazon.a


Special to the Filipino Reporter

LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. climbed the ring of the MGM Grand Garden Arena determined to earn the victory that they wanted badly since this fight was announced.

And with the the bright lights of Las Vegas shining on them and 15,601 enthusiastic fans waiting for their every move — both fighters tried to put a showing that they are the better man in that ring and erased all doubts of their first meeting in 2012.

That produced an exciting and thrilling 12 rounds of heated action in the ring last Saturday.

Pacquiao recovered the welterweight world title he lost to Bradley in 2012 by defeating the previously unbeaten American by a clear and this time an untarnished unanimous decision that made him a world champion again.

Judges at ringside tallied the following scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110 for the 35-year-old Pacquiao who executed a fiery but smart performance over an opponent that is five years his junior.

And unlike the controversial outcome of their first fight, this decision was devoid of controversy.

The Filipino superstar boxer and congressman was like the Pacquiao of old, delivering punches in bunches that overwhelmed Bradley.

What was not there was his vaunted knockout power — one that has been missing since 2009 when he last scored a knockout win.

And his opponent last Saturday can attest to it.


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The two star boxers in action on April 12. Pacquiao won via a unanimous decision.  (Photo by Dr. Ed de la Vega)


Bradley claimed that the same punches that hit him two years ago were harder compared to the ones he received during this fight.

“I believe that in the first fight, his punching power was way harder. I was able to take it. He was very effective tonight. He was able to daze me a couple of times but I still was able to stay up on my feet.”

Bradley though despite his claim and on-ring bravado — that he is not affected by the Filipino’s flurry of punches — his face after the fight tells otherwise.

There were welts and bruises on his face.

It’s right side especially, was already swollen by Round 6 — a product of a hundred left hooks from Pacquiao.

He was dazed and wobbly during rounds after heated exchanges with his opponent.

And he wore dark sunglasses after the fight, probably to conceal additional damage to his eyes.

Yes he was able to hurt Pacquiao with his looping rights and hard straights — the same punches that Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Pacquiao down and out.

But these were few; what was plenty was him backing and defending from a still quick and very aggressive opponent.

Bradley was spent in the final rounds of the fight.

His strategy of trying to knock Pacquiao with those shots took a lot of his energy.

Bradley in the end accepted the reality that his belt and his unbeaten record is no more.

And that he lost it to an older, aging but still great fighter, who was clearly better than him.

“I tried, I really tried. I wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter. One of the best in the world. I lost to one of the best fighters of the world.”

This was Pacquiao’s second straight victory after twin defeats in 2012 — the first with Bradley and the chilling knockout from Marquez.

It brought back his status as an elite fighter and one of boxing’s best who can still dominate the younger crop of fighters in his class.

“I am so happy to be a world champion again.” said Pacquiao who states that he plans to fight for another two years.

This recent triumph will also fuel the unending clamor of a super fight that can never get done between him and the acknowledged best boxer in the planet — Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“It’s really hard to talk about that. We’ve been talking about that for many years and it doesn’t happen. Like I said, my line is always open, 24 hours, seven days a week about that fight,” Pacman added.

His promoter, Bob Arum, agreed with him.

Arum even asked the fans to boycott Mayweather’s fight next month to put pressure on the American superstar.

“The only people that can make Floyd Mayweather fight Manny is the public, if they boycott the nonsense on May 3,” said Arum who was referring to Mayweather’s fight with Marcos Maidana next month.

Pacquiao after the fight stated that he would still continue fighting for two more years.

One fight this year and two more next year.

If the fans are lucky, one of these three remaining fights will be against Mayweather.

Maybe.


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(Photo by Dr. Ed de la Vega)

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