Manny Pacquiao knocked down Timothy Bradley twice in the fight. Pacquiao won with a unanimous decision. Credit Mike Nelson/European Pressphoto AgencySports
Pacquiao Defeats Bradley by Decision, and Says Farewell to Boxing
By JOHN ELIGON
APRIL 10, 2016
LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao made a name for himself with a delicious mix of ferocious punching power and shifty speed.
In recent years, however, even as the wins continued to come, the ring swagger seemed to give way to a more genteel, rote performance art.
Maybe it was age; maybe it was other responsibilities tugging at his attention. Whatever it was, it was clear that Pacquiao’s illustrious career was winding down. But as he stepped into the ring on Saturday night for a third fight against Timothy Bradley Jr., he was determined to show that he was not leaving because his skills had diminished. He wanted to win convincingly, he said.
There was no jaw-jolting knockout. But there was that trademark, hunched-over bob, the lunging left hands and the bouncing of an adolescent unable to contain his energy.
Pacquiao (58-6-2) scored a unanimous decision victory over Bradley (33-2-1) in the welterweight bout, saying farewell in a thrilling fight that at times drew deafening cheers from the crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. All three judges had it 116-110.
Pacquiao said goodbye to the sport just the way he wanted to. He also made an argument that maybe it was not time for him to step away.
Pacquiao, who knocked Bradley down twice, showed not only that he still had skills but that he had the passion.
“Every round, I’m looking for a knockout,” he said after the fight.
“He’s just very quick, very explosive,” Bradley said. “It’s hard to really judge him.”
Both fighters were so quick that the early rounds were touch and go, without any clean shots landing.
As the action got heavier in the middle of the fight, and the punches started to land harder, Pacquiao seemed to relish the moment. He sprang up and down like a man on a pogo stick. He ducked in and pulled out just in time to feel the looping right hands of Bradley go breezing past his head.
When Bradley did connect with a hard left hook in the eighth round, Pacquiao stumbled backward, wobbly and red in the face. After sitting on the ropes amid a flurry from Bradley, Pacquiao eventually stopped the onslaught by hugging his opponent.
Pacquiao, 37, said before the fight that he was not sure how he would feel in retirement, whether he would enjoy it or itch to return to the ring.
Pacquiao had not fought since losing a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May. That fight was the most lucrative in boxing history, but it failed to live up to the hype. Pacquiao showed on Saturday night that he still had what it takes to create a thunderous atmosphere.
Those who know Pacquiao well were not necessarily fazed by the outside distractions, which he has thrived on throughout his career. In fact, some observers say Pacquiao’s ring abilities flagged in recent fights after he brought more order to his personal life, which had been marred by gambling and infidelity.
In the days leading up to Saturday night’s bout, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, said that his fighter had been looking like his old self. Pacquiao said he had been hampered by a shoulder injury in the Mayweather fight but now was 100 percent.
After showing that with his hands on Saturday night, Pacquiao certainly seems to be leaving a lot on the table if he sticks with retirement.