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Tim Bradley reacts to Pacquiao’s KO win over Matthysse

Image: Tim Bradley reacts to Pacquiao’s KO win over Matthysse

By Jeff Aranow: ESPN commentator and former two division world champion Tim Bradley was praising Manny Pacquiao continually last night in complimenting the former eight division world champion following his 7th round knockout of WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse last Saturday night.

During his career, Bradley beat Pacquiao once by a controversial 12 round split decision in 2012, but then lost to him in rematches in 2014 and 2016. The third fight between them was entirely unnecessary, because Pacquiao had already soundly beaten Bradley in the rematch in 2014.

Fighting in front of a large group of boxing fans at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) knocked the 35-year-old Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) down three times in the fight in rounds 3, 5 and 7 before he spit out his mouthpiece and was stopped in the 7th. Referee Kenny Bayless made his decision to stop the fight after Matthysse went down for the third time in the fight. The fight could have been allowed to continue, but Matthysse’s body language suggested that he didn’t want to continue.

”Speed was a factor here,”Tim Bradley said about Pacquiao moments after his 7th round stoppage victory over Lucas Matthysse last Saturday night. ”[Pacquiao had] Too much speed, too much class and too much experience. He’s a dominant force still at 39. He needs to be respected, Manny Pacquiao,” Bradley said.

Bradley is correct about Pacquiao’s speed being a big factor in his win over Matthysse. It wa the telling factor in Pacquiao’s victory. He had too much speed and talent for Matthysse. Pacquiao looked like he wanted it more as well. Matthysse had the look of a fighter who was mentally defeated once he started taking punishment in the first two rounds. Matthysse had the same look on his face as he did in his past defeats against Viktor Postol, Zab Judah, Devon Alexander and Danny Garcia.

Matthysse seems to give up when he’s forced to deal with adversity. For him to have won last night against Pacquiao, Matthysse would have needed to show a lot of heart to overcome Pacquiao’s obvious physical advantages in hand speed, movement and reflexes. Pacquiao didn’t fight like a 40-year-old. He fought like a fighter with the speed and hair trigger reflexes of someone half that age. In other words, Pacquiao was like a 20-year-old fighter against Matthysse. That doesn’t mean that Pacquiao would have beaten the big dogs in the welterweight division in Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Terence Crawford or Keith Thurman. Those fighters have speed, power, heart and size. They would use their advantages to give Pacquiao headaches, and likely beat him. But against a limited fighter like Matthysse, Pacquiao showed that he can dominate and look like the fighter that he once was.

”Every time Manny Pacquiao would get close to him, he’d give him that shot straight up the middle,” Bradley said about Pacquiao connecting with left hands to the head of the 35-year-old Matthysse. ”Pacquiao was doing what he does, stalking, coming behind the jab. The jab sets the table. Pacquiao cleans him up with a left uppercut as Matthysse leaned forward,” Bradley said.

Matthysse was leaning forward throughout the fight, inviting Pacquiao to hit him with uppercuts the entire night. Matthysse never adapted to lean back to keep from getting hit with the uppercuts. Matthysse was doing the same thing the entire fight, making it too easy for the 39-year-old Pacquiao to

brain him with shots. It’s easy for fighters like Pacquiao to dominate when they’ve got an opponent that makes so many mistakes like Matthysse was last night.

”I think Matthysse could have continued, but he decided, ‘I’m sick of taking this punishment over the course of the fight,” Bradley said.

Matthysse looked discouraged after getting dropped down in the 3rd round. He didn’t look like he wanted to continue by the 7th. The referee did the right thing in putting a stop to the contest because Matthysse had mentally given up on himself, and was only going to take more punishment if the contest had been allowed to continue.

”Manny Pacquiao looked dominant tonight against Matthysse, and he’s still a dominant force in the sport of boxing,” Bradley said.

Bradley is wrong. Pacquiao isn’t a dominant force in the welterweight division. Pacquiao can dominate certain guys like Matthysse, who was always viewed as a paper champion by boxing fans, but he’s likely going to be able to dominate the likes of Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman or Errol Spence Jr. Pacquiao might be able to beat guys like Jeff Horn, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Adrien Broner, but not the really talented guys at 147. Shawn Porter would be a very, very hard fight for Pacquiao at this point. I don’t think Pacquiao would beat Porter, who would likely rough him up even worse than Jeff Horn did. Pacquiao is going to be careful in the type of opponents he faces from this point on. He might entertain the idea of facing Top Rank fighter Vasyl Lomachenko, Adrien Broner or Amir Khan. I think it’s quite possible that Pacquiao will stick around boxing long enough to fight all three of those guys. But as far as Bradley saying that Pacquiao is a “dominant force in the sport of boxing,” I don’t think that’s accurate. Pacquiao’s days of being a dominant force are done. He’s a good fighter who can beat some of the top welterweights, but not all of them. Pacquiao will do well against guys like Jamal James, Yordenis Ugas, Jessie Vargas, Devon Alexander and Carlos Ocampo. He can beat those type of welterweights, but not the better fighters.

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