Manny Pacquiao regained the WBO welterweight title from Timothy Bradley he controversially lost nearly two years this weekend, with a clinical points win over 12 rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The Filipino superstar might have outclassed his opponent over 12 rounds during their first meeting at the same venue in June 2012, however this time round he made sure the judges couldn't give the decision against him with a performance that saw him out-box the former undefeated Bradley in at least nine of the 12 rounds.
In fact such was Pacquiao's dominance, two of the three rounds that went in Bradley's favour were on a knifes edge and could have gone either way. The judges finally got it right with two scoring the fight 116-112 and one 118-110 for the Filipino.
The opening exchanges were edged by Pacquiao, his hand speed and combinations proving too much for the WBO champion. Bradley was able to breach his opponent's defence on a few occasions, working the Filipino with the jab and the odd big right hand. However Pacquiao's movement and ability to counter attack from different angles saw him begin to dominate the fight round after round.
As the fight went on Bradley resorted to showboating, dropping his hands and inviting Pacquiao in, a tactic that was clearly built on his lack of confidence and composure and one that didn't distract the experienced Filipino as he continued to wear down Bradley with a host of blistering combinations.
During the closing rounds Bradley's corner knew the champion needed to deliver the knockout blow if their fighter had any hopes of retaining his undefeated record and title however the Californian couldn't breach Pacquiao's defences and if anything fell further behind as the southpaw simply picked him off with a host of counterattacking combinations.
It was an assured performance by the eight division world champion and a stark reminder to many that felt his career was coming to an end. His movement and hand speed was in full evidence something that perhaps eluded him during his sixth round stoppage at the hands of Marquez.
With the win not only did Pacquiao regain his WBO title but improved his record to 56-5-2 while for Bradley it was a first professional loss, his record now standing at 31-1. It was a fight that showcased the rebirth of a legend. However with a self confessed two years left in the sport, where does the "fighting pride of the Philippines" go now?
There is talk of a fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez with Pacquiao wanting to put the record straight after being knocked out during their last encounter, or will we finally get to see the fight the world has been waiting for against Floyd Mayweather?
Come what may, Pacquiao is back after a difficult two years and few can argue that after this comprehensive performance, the Filipino is once again the big draw card in the welterweight division.
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