Manny Pacquiao outpointed Timothy Bradley Jr. by unanimous decision Saturday in Las Vegas to regain the WBO welterweight title, avenging a controversial loss two years ago in the same MGM Grand ring.
The fight started out blazing, as Bradley made good on his promise to go for the knockout. He landed right hands early by fighting at a good distance. He looked physically bigger than Pacquiao, 56-5-2 (38 knockouts), and, by round two, both fighters were standing flat-footed and firing their biggest shots. Pacquiao staggered Bradley with a left hand in round two, but Bradley came back strong, swinging for the fences with wild haymakers. He hurt Pacquiao himself with a right hand in round four, and the pace was torrid.
But it appeared Bradley, 31-1 (12 KO's), never quite recovered from the second round left hand, as his legs betrayed him the rest of the fight. He appeared rubbery and unsteady and Pacquiao began to take control in round six.
Pacquiao swept most of the next six rounds with high-volume, highly-accurate punching to win by scores of 116-112 twice and 118-110. Bradley appeared out-of-sorts late in the fight, abandoning his pursuit of a knockout. He said he injured a calf late in the fight (he injured both his ankles in the June 9, 2012 original). But he likely also punched himself out trying for the KO in the early rounds.
"He threw a lot of wild punches," Pacquiao said. "I got hit one time and thought that it was not good to take chances."
Bradley said: "He's a great fighter. I lost to one of the best fighters in the world."
Talk will no doubt now turn to the evasive Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, especially if Mayweather defeats Marcos Maidana May 3 in Las Vegas.