LAS VEGAS, April 9, 2016 – Manny Pacquiao showed fans why he became an eight division champion with a flashy, fast, and commanding performance over an outwitted Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday to take the third fight in their trilogy.
From the opening bell, the veteran Pacquiao moved and danced around Bradley. He put himself in perfect position to strike Bradley while avoiding any counter punches. Bradley could not get his jab working and could not escape Pacquiao. He started lunging toward Pacquiao when he couldn’t find him, trying to lure him and set up counter punches. But Bradley was always a step behind. Everything was working for Manny; nothing seemed to be working for Bradley.
Near the end of the seventh round, Pacquiao hit Bradley with a short right hook inside followed by a left, and Bradley touched both gloves down to the canvas. Bradley later said Pacquiao pushed him, but it was counted as a knockdown.
In the ninth round, Bradley was caught by a stronger left hook from Pacquiao. It blew him into a backward somersault in the ring. Later, when Bradley watched the replay, he said “Ooooweee! Yeah, he caught me good on that one.”
Trainer Teddy Atlas tried to rally Bradley throughout the fight. His rough voice could easily be heard during the fight even over the roars of the 14,655 fans in the arena. After the tenth round, Atlas said to Bradley in the corner, “Look me in the eye. I’m still proud of you. Give me six minutes of your best.” Bradley never gave up, but it would have taken a miracle which wasn’t in the cards. All three judges scored the bout 116-110. Pacquiao becomes the WBO welterweight champion.
Bradley said Pacquiao was better than in their first two fights. “He was always on top of me, man, just a step ahead of me and I was supposed to be a step ahead of him. He was very patient. He was just waiting on me, waiting on me to make mistakes … He used distance and he anticipated me coming in.”
Bradley took the loss with grace and a smile. “My spirit is not crushed, man … I got beat by a legend. I’ll be back.”
Pacquiao said he was pleased with his performance. “Every round, I’m looking for a knockout to finish the fight. We know Bradley is a top opponent, a top boxer. I did my best. I’m so happy, it was almost what I wanted to do,” said Pacquiao after the fight.
“What I feel tonight, I feel fresh. That’s why every round, I’m excited.” The 36-year-old Pacquiao said the fight felt “like when I start boxing in America in 2001.”
It is rare for a boxer to go out with a storybook ending like Pacquiao did against Bradley. Although he declared before the fight he would retire, Pacquiao took numerous questions about his future at the post fight news conference. Was he really, truly retiring?
“Let me enjoy first my retired life before you ask me about a comeback,” said Pacquiao. I might enjoy retired life. To coming back, I’m not there yet. I don’t know what I’m feeling. I have a commitment to my family. I made my decision already.
“Although if you ask me about my condition, my body, I’m still OK. I can still give you a good fight, 100 percent … My heart is 50-50, you know.”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach and promoter Bob Arum said they would love Pacquiao to keep fighting, but fully support his decision to retire if he decides his boxing career is finished. “If he retires, and I consider the fact he is retired because that’s what he said to me, neither of us have died yet. As long as we’re both alive, we’ll see each other and we’ll be friends. It’s not necessary for Manny to fight for me to have a relationship with him. I think Freddie feels the same,” said Arum.
Roach said, “We’ve had a great 15 years together, if he retires I’ll be happy for him.” But Roach was quick to say if Manny does fight again, his first choice of an opponent is American Terence Crawford. Crawford was on hand for the fight, and appeared in the media center after the fight. Read into this what you will.
Pacquiao reflected on his career prior to leaving the MGM Grand with his family. “What I have done in boxing, I’m so satisfied and happy, more than happy. When I started boxing, I never think I can accomplish all I have done right now. I am so thankful to God he gave me this great responsibility and achievements in life. That’s a great blessing from the Lord he gave to me. He used me as a role model to inspire people,” said Pacquiao.
HBO Boxing will replay Pacquiao vs. Bradley III on Saturday, April 16, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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