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Live Blog: Bradley shocks Pacquiao to win WBO welterweight title on split decision

Bradley thought he broke his left ankle in the second round, but didn’t back down in upset victory


Steve Marcus

Manny Pacquiao lands a right in his welterweight championship bout against Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Updated Saturday, June 9, 2012 | 10:20 p.m.

Bradley Defeats Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao punches at Timothy Bradley Jr. during their WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, June 9, 2012. Bradley won a controversial split decision. Launch slideshow »

Pacquiao and Bradley Weigh-in

Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao, left, and Timothy Bradley Jr. face off during an official weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Friday, June 8, 2012. Pacquiao will defend his WBO welterweight title against the undefeated Bradley at the arena on Saturday. Launch slideshow » Sports Talk

All things Pacquiao

Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer, Case Keefer and Taylor Bern usher in fight week by discussing everything surrounding Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley on their weekly "Waking up with the Sun" radio program. Has Pacquiao lost something? Does Bradley have a chance? And the obligatory question — Will Pacquiao ever fight Floyd Mayweather? Catch Las Vegas Sun sports talk Monday mornings at 8 on 91.5 KUNV.

Timothy Bradley is still undefeated. Let that soak in for a few seconds and consider his most recent opponent — legend Manny Pacquiao.

Bradley won a split decision Saturday against Pacquiao in a shocking result at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to win the WBO welterweight title, taking a battle of several apparent close rounds to hand Pacquiao his first loss in 16 fights and seven years. C.J. Ross and Duane Ford had it 115-113 in favor of Bradley; Jerry Roth scored in 115-113 for Pacquiao. (I had it 116-112 for Pacquiao).

A chorus of boos filled the arena as Bradley is interviewed in the ring — a clear sign that many had Pacquiao winning comfortably. When Pacquiao was interviewed, the pro-Pacquiao crowd was wild in support, especially when he said he thought he won the fight.

“I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough, I guess,” Pacquiao said. “He never hurt me. Most of his punches hit my arms.”

Bradley made headlines earlier in the week at a pre-fight press conference when he confidently held up an oversized ticket for a Nov. 10 fight against Pacquiao, which would only happen if Bradley won to trigger a rematch clause in the contract. Looks like he was right in an upset for the ages — Bradley closed as a +380 betting underdog, meaning gamblers made $380 for every $100 bet on Bradley.

No rematch has officially been set, but Bradley said he will give Pacquiao a chance to regain his title. Pacquiao also is game for a rematch: "No problem. I will be ready," Pacquiao said.

Each fight typically has a defining moment, where the winner dominates the action, records a knockout or lands several punches. You'd be hard pressed to find one of those moments for Bradley, with most people scoring the fight heavily in favor of Pacquiao. Bradley was the aggressor in the first round and showed confidence on boxing's big stage for the first time — he appeared to win the first and eighth rounds.

Pacquiao landed 34 percent of his 751 punches, while Bradley landed just 19 percent of his 839 punches. Pacquiao landed 190 power punches and Bradley landed 108. In 10 of 12 rounds, Pacquiao landed more punches. Still, despite all this, Bradley emerged victorious — a result, as confirmed by the stats, that might be one of the worst decisions in boxing history.

"I don't know what happened," Pacquiao said. "He didn't hurt me."

Bradley severely twisted his left ankle in the second round and struggled with his mobility in the middle rounds. But he says he got his strength back in the sixth round, and by the end of the fight, felt he had a chance to win on points.

"My corner told me if I won the last round, I would win the fight," Bradley said.

And, on all three judges' scorecards, he did just that to secure the win.

We'll keep everyone posted as the night progresses and we get comments from both fighters.

Two more rounds left for dominant Manny Pacquiao in welterweight title defense

Make no doubt about it, Manny Pacquiao is in clear control of this WBO welterweight title fight against Timothy Bradley as we head into the final two rounds.

But Bradley is doing a good job of seeking out action in the center of the ring and going for the knockout. He has definitely earned the respect of the folks in the crowd tonight.

For all the pre-fight questions about Pacquiao’s desire and training distractions, he’s answered with a thoroughly dominating performance. Bradley likely won the first and eighth rounds, and Pacquiao has been in control during the other rounds. He’s almost had a knockout each round — but give credit to Bradley for taking a punch.

Two more rounds until a decision. I don’t think this one is going to end by a knockout.

Manny Pacquiao in control through eight rounds in defense of welterweight belt against Bradley

Timothy Bradley has landed more than his share of quality punches against Manny Pacquiao in the WBO welterweight title fight. It’s just Pacquiao is landing more punches — every round.

With the exception of the first round, Pacquiao has continued with the action and forced Bradley into a defensive mode. Most of Bradley’s success has come with counter-punches, and not by being on the attack.

We are through eight rounds here at the MGM Grand Garden and this fight appears destined for the scorecards. If that is the case, it will be a convincing 16th straight victory for Pacquiao — a win that would again trigger talks of a mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Don’t expect Manny to slip up late, but stranger things have happened.

Manny Pacquiao trying to pull away against Timothy Bradley

Manny Pacquiao has landed a good portion of the significant punches during this WBO welterweight title fight against Timothy Bradley, showing more aggression, speed and mobility than his past two fights.

He struggled last fall against Juan Manuel Marquez and couldn’t do much in his previous bout against an aging Shane Mosley, but Bradley hasn’t backed down and is giving Pacquiao several chances to exchange punches in the middle of the ring. It’s definitely entertaining.

Pacquiao had several good combinations in the fourth and fifth rounds, but also took a solid punch from Bradley to close the fourth. There is no way Bradley should be a 4-to-1 betting underdog — he’s definitely a quality fighter.

Through five rounds, I’ve given all but the first to Pacquiao. You could make an argument in the second and fifth for Bradley, but don’t expect him to outpoint someone as popular as Pacquiao.

Pacquiao lands solid shot in second round, likely leading after three

Three rounds are in the books of this WBO welterweight title fight, and you can easily argue the decision will be debated.

Manny Pacquiao, who is riding a 15-match winning streak and has been virtually untouchable the past seven years, is definitely getting a big-time challenge from undefeated Timothy Bradley.

The third round ended with the fighters exchanging punches, including Pacquiao aggressively charging toward Bradley after landing a few blows. Seconds before the bell, Bradley landed a solid right.

The best combination of the night came in the second round from Pacquiao when he landed a left to Bradley’s face. Bradley showed he has a good chin by taking the punch and continuing to box.

The general consensus on press row is 2-1 in favor of Pacquiao — even though you could easily argue the second round went in favor of Bradley. Great action thus far. Everything you could want if you shelled out $60 for the pay-per-view.

Timothy Bradley is the aggressor in the first round against Manny Pacquiao

Timothy Bradley has backed up his pre-fight confidence.

The first round was mostly controlled by Bradley against Manny Pacquiao in the WBO welterweight title fight, with the undefeated Bradley proving to be comfortable in the ring and a few steps quicker. Pacquiao did land a few solid connections, but it likely wasn’t enough to steal the round.

Of course, the fight started about 30 minutes behind schedule while Pacquiao did extra work on the treadmill to loosen his legs. I’m guessing that upset Bradley — at least by how he controlled the pace. He’s clearly the aggressor.

Fight delayed while Pacquiao loosens leg muscles on treadmill

Manny Pacquiao went missing for a few minutes. Seriously.

Moments before Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley were scheduled to enter the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for their WBO welterweight title fight, HBO sports — which is providing tonight’s pay-per-view — reported Pacquiao couldn’t be found. Turns out he was on the treadmill doing some cardio to loosen his leg muscles, which in his last two fights cramped toward the end.

Fans in the near sold-out arena have been entertained with a disc jockey and fan-cam showing images on the big screen, most surely wondering what the delay is.

You have to feel bad for Bradley, whose undefeated record and career hinges on this once-in-a-lifetime fight. Bradley’s been ready to go in his locker room, but has been forced to wait for the superstar Pacquiao. Very strange, folks.

I’ll be back soon — well, whenever Pac-Man is ready.

Title fight to start after NBA playoff game

When Manny Pacquiao steps into the ring later tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to defend his WBO welterweight championship against undefeated Timothy Bradley, the Filipino legend and one of boxing’s top performers of this era will be on some unfamiliar ground: having something to prove.

Pacquiao is riding a 15-match winning streak that has elevated him from an up-and-comer to the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, but that certainly wasn’t the case during his last match. That’s when he escaped with a majority decision against Juan Manuel Marquez, struggling with leg cramps late in the fight, and Marquez’s superb counter-punches in showing weaknesses for one of the first times in seven years.

The struggles led many to suspect that Pacquiao was quickly fading out of his prime — after all, the 33-year-old has long maintained a possible retirement in 2013.

In the past few months, Pacquiao has admitted navigating through marital, drinking, gambling and financial problems, and claimed his performance in the ring was a direct result of the distractions.

He’s had a spiritual awakening in the months after the close call against Marquez, turning to the Bible for guidance and stopping his reckless ways. He’s even salvaged his marriage, with his entire family making the trip from the Philippines to Las Vegas for tonight’s fight.

Some argue the lifestyle changes have made Pacquiao a softer fighter, while others claim it’s helped him refocus. We’ll soon learn the answer.

Bradley, who has just 12 career knockouts, seems confident that he’ll be the one to stop Pacquiao’s run. He’s about a 4-to-1 betting underdog and not given a chance by many — including myself. While I agree there is good betting value in Bradley, I just don’t see someone with limited punching power stopping Pacquiao.

I’ll talk to everyone once the fight begins, which won’t happen until after Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals between Boston and Miami.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at

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