Published Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 5:17 p.m.
Updated Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 10:33 p.m.
Hold the thoughts on winding down and retirement; Manny Pacquiao is not done yet.
The 35-year-old Filipino boxing superstar avenged one of the two losses in his last three fights Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, defeating Timothy Bradley by unanimous decision (118-110, 116-112, 116-112). The bout felt closer than when the two fighters first met in June 2012, so the pro-Pacquiao crowd hushed with anticipation in the moments between the end of the fight and the reveal of the scorecards.
The fear of another controversial decision certainly crept into several of their minds, but it didn’t happen tonight. The judges witnessed what everyone else saw with Pacquiao keeping Bradley off-kilter with a mixture of speed and aggression.
“I congratulate him,” Bradley said while still in the ring after the fight. “He’s awesome. He’s one of the best fighters in the world.”
The only boos after the second Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight came when the latter mentioned a strained calf limited him from early on in the bout. When Pacquiao spoke, the crowd roared so loudly that his comments were inaudible.
“No excuses,” Bradley concluded, “Manny did his thing.”
CompuBox calculated Pacuquiao landing 198 out of his 563 punches. Bradley was far less efficient at 141-for-627.
Bradley surrendered his WBO welterweight title back to Pacquiao with the defeat, but Saturday wasn’t about championships. It was about retribution for one of the best fighters in the world.
The judges granted Pacquiao that courtesy.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for full coverage of Pacquiao vs. Bradley II and look below for the live blog from during the fight.
An incensed Bob Arum lashed out at the MGM Grand earlier this week for its excess promotion of Floyd Mayweather’s upcoming fight in lieu of tonight’s rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
The resort evened out the posters and advertisements in response, but it could hang as many Mayweather shrines as possible tonight without creating any confusion. The building belongs to a different boxer tonight.
It’s the Manny Pacquiao Grand Garden Arena until further notice. An unofficial Filipino holiday is invoked any time Pacquiao competes at the world’s most recognizable fight venue, and the feeling is quite festive tonight.
Filipino flags and gear dot the premises from the parking garage to the arena ahead of Pacquiao’s first MGM Grand fight in 16 months. Timothy Bradley will be in enemy territory for his second fight against Pacquiao, which is just a couple hours away from commencing.
Bradley, of course, defeated Pacquiao by split decision here in June 2012. At least according to the judges. Neither Pacquiao’s camp nor his fans have ever accepted the ruling.
They look at the decision as more than controversial. They consider it infinitely erroneous. To Pacquiao and his supporters, tonight is an opportunity to right a previous wrong and prove in the process that Bradley was never on the eight-division champion’s level.
Bradley is just as desperate to correct something, too. Bradley wants to eradicate the perception that he’s Pacquiao’s lesser, that he wasn’t even in the fight the first time they met.
The way people have dismissed Bradley, even after he’s gone on to defend the belt he took from Pacquiao, has pained him. He wants to teach them all a lesson.
He wants to beat Pacquiao decisively. He’ll just have to do it in a venue where Pacquiao is undoubtedly the equivalent of the home team.
Stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of Pacquiao vs. Bradley, including round-by-round scoring of the main event, as the night goes on.