So much for that lost killer instinct that Tim Bradley said Manny Pacquiao had suffered, after the legendary champ dropped a controversial decision to Bradley in their first fight in June 2012 and then got knocked unconscious by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth fight in late 2012. A pedestrian win over Brandon Rios last fall had Bradley declaring that Pacman was basically washed up because he hadn’t stopped an opponent since 2009.
It looks like Manny Pacquiao still has some shark left in that tank as he won a unanimous decision in his rematch with Bradley on Saturday night, avenging his 2012 loss and claiming the WBO welterweight title.
Pacquiao (56-5-2) clearly out-boxed Bradley and put serious work in, forcing the issue and dicing the previously undefeated Bradley (31-1) up and around the MGM Grand Garden ring, with a throwback performance reminiscent of Pacman at his peak. Not too many heads saw this coming.
Judges Craig Metcalfe and Michael Pernick scored the rematch 116-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Trowbridge favored the Pacquiao 118-110. The Associated Press scored it 116-112 for Pacquiao.
After the fight, Bradley said he injured his right calf early on, but he had no choice but to give Pacquiao his props. "You won the fight, you deserved the win," Bradley told Pacman in the ring immediately following the decision. "I have no excuses."
According to the Associated Press, Pacquiao landed 35 percent of his 563 punches, while Bradley connected with just 22 percent of his 627 blows. Pacquiao's jab was much more effective, landing 23 percent to Bradley's measly 11 percent, and the Pacman had a slight edge in landing 148 power punches to Bradley's 109.
Pacquiao's performance avenged his controversial split-decision loss to Bradley, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest robberies of all-time. Not just because Pacman clearly won the fight, but because he was an eight-division world champion on a 15-fight winning streak when Bradley was awarded the shaky nod.
It seemed as if Bradley had the game on lock. All he had to do was whip this aging Filipino congressman and start building his own legacy. That’s the beauty of boxing though. Styles dictate fights. Heart decides them. This wasn’t Bradley’s “Hulk Hogan slamming Andre The Giant” once and for all moment. It was the return of The People’s Champion, as Pacman reasserts his potential dominance and why he is as big a money draw as anybody out there. Do I hear Mayweather calling…again?