Pacquiao decisions Bradley
By Jim Dower: In a dominating performance, Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) won an impressive two knockdown 12 round unanimous decision victory over Tim Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) tonight in their fight on HBO PPV from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting each for the third time, Pacquiao knocked Bradley down with big power shots in the 7th and 9th rounds. The final judges’ scores were 116-110, 116-110 and 116-110. With the win, Pacquiao won the WBO International welterweight title.
Bradley hurt Pacquiao with a left hook to the head in the 8th round. However, Pacquiao was able to clinch and move to avoid getting hit with any additional big shots.
Bradley was way behind in the fight going into the 10th round. He attempted to apply a lot of pressure to get back into the fight, but Pacquiao kept nailing him with left hands to the head. Bradley couldn’t just rush forward because he had tried that in the 9th and had paid the price by getting knocked down.
Pacquiao rarely used his surgically repaired shoulder to throw punches with his right hand. Compared to his past fights, Pacquiao was throwing mostly left hands. It would seem based on this performance that Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum and Trainer Freddie Roach didn’t reveal that his right arm wasn’t back to the level it was previously.
It was a good performance from the 37-year-old Pacquiao in knocking Bradley down twice in the fight in the 7th and 9th rounds. There was a huge crowd of 14,665 fans to see the two fighters perform, and this was definitely the perfect way for Pacquiao to bow out of the sport. If this is the last fight of Pacquiao’s 21-year pro career, then he really did himself proud in boxing a masterclass against the 32-year-old Bradley.
While the judges had Pacquiao winning by a 116-110 score on all three scores, it could have been more along the lines of a more lopsided score. Bradley did not perform well at all out there. If this was the game plan that his trainer Teddy Atlas prepared for him, then Bradley needs to come down to earth and recognize that Atlas isn’t the answer that he’s looking for to take him to the next level.
This was Pacquiao’s first fight coming off of right rotator cuff surgery after his 12 round unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao looked like he not fully 100 percent for the fight. It’s unclear whether his right arm was hurting him, or if it was weak and lacked the flexibility that he needed to use it in the fight against Bradley. Whatever the case, Pacquiao was fighting with one arm against Bradley and not using his right arm very much other than a few token shots here and there. Pacquiao did land with his right hand in the fight, but those were rare occasions, and the power that he got on the shots wasn’t incredible like in the past. If Pacquiao were to continue his career beyond the Bradley fight tonight, he would need to get the full use of his right arm. He couldn’t beat guys like Terence Crawford or Saul “Canelo” Alvarez with just his left hand working for him.
“This was the best of the three fights I had with Timothy Bradley,” Pacquiao said. “Great action, and it was very competitive. Teddy obviously made a difference because this was the best Timothy Bradley I have faced in the three fights.”
Pacquiao is being kind to Bradley by saying this was the best Bradley he’d faced in three fights. It’s pretty clear that Bradley was far better in his first and second fights. He was faster and learner in both of the first two fights than he was in tonight’s fight.
Bradley looked slow and too bulked up for the third fight, and that hurt his ability to put his shots together. But what hurt Bradley more than his loss of hand speed and punch volume, was the fact that he spent too much valuable time in the fight staying on the outside and moving around the ring. That was a plan that would never work against an aggressive fighter like Pacquiao, because it enabled him to win rounds the easy way by being the aggressor.
Bradley’s movement made him look like he was trying to evade Pacquiao rather than fight him. That made Bradley look scared, and the judges obviously were never going to give the rounds to Bradley with him look like that. You can blame Bradley’s trainer Teddy Atlas for failing to give him another “Fireman” speech to impress upon him the need for him to reverse course and go after Pacquiao to make the fight an actual fight instead of Bradley stalling out the fight with his nonstop movement. That’s what it looked like Bradley was doing. It appeared that he was just trying to stall out the rounds with movement.
Atlas should have told Bradley that he needed to go directly after Pacquiao to try and outwork him because he wasn’t going to beat him by landing only pot shots. That style works against an out of shape 170lb Brandon Rios, but not against a skilled fighter like Pacquiao. It was a failure of a strategy, and you can argue that Bradley would have been better off if he was with his old trainer Joel Diaz rather than with Atlas tonight.
“I loved the way Manny threw his combos. He may be a little rusty, but if he wants to continue fighting, I think he can still go,” said Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach via ESPN.com.
Pacquiao really wasn’t throwing a lot of combinations. He couldn’t because Bradley was always moving. It was mostly left hands from Pacquiao. He did land some quick combinations when he was able to get to Bradley during brief moments when he was stationary, but those were rare moments in the fight.
Pacquiao knocked Bradley down in the 7th with a left followed by a right to the head that put Bradley down. It didn’t look like Bradley was hurt. It was a more of him getting hit with some shots that knocked him off balance. Pacquiao jumped in the air as he was throwing the right hand that knocked Bradley down. I don’t think Bradley was expecting such an unorthodox attack from Pacquiao.
“I don’t think the first knockdown was a real knockdown, but Pacquiao did a great job in there,” said Atlas via ESPN. “Give Pacquiao credit. I didn’t do enough of a job for Bradley.”
I can agree with Atlas on that. He didn’t do a good enough job as Bradley’s trainer in this fight with his instructions and his overall game plan for him to win. In hindsight, Atlas should have had Bradley go to Plan-B after the first four rounds when it was becoming increasingly clear that Bradley was falling way behind in the fight, and that his movement wasn’t working for him.
Unfortunately for Bradley, Atlas kept him on the same Plan-A with the movement, and he fell hopelessly behind in the second half of the fight. Bradley looked desperate during portions of the second half of the fight, but he wasn’t able to do anything in terms of being aggressive to take the fight with Pacquiao. It looked like the extra muscle that Bradley had put on his upper body slowed him down to the point where he couldn’t throw enough shots to win the fight. The muscle and the movement really hurt Bradley’s efforts in this fight.