Maybe there is a certain amount of adrenaline that courses through the body of a boxing broadcaster after a big fight.
That must have been what struck HBO’s Jim Lampley in the aftermath of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley welterweight championship fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Pacquiao had made easy work of Bradley, winning a not-so-close 12-round decision in a not-so-exciting rematch. Something prompted Lampley to say that it would be nice to see a third match between Pacquiao and Bradley. Then Lampley likened the scenario to what the late Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward once engaged in.
Having been present at all three Gatti-Ward fights and having witnessed both Pacquiao-Bradley matches there is literally no comparison to be made. It’s an insult to Gatti and Ward. I have to wonder if Lampley isn’t going a little daft. There was nothing in Pacquiao-Bradley that screamed for a three-peat.
Here’s what I saw: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would beat both Pacquiao and Bradley in the same night. Heck, they could go tag team on Mayweather and he’d still box circles around both of them.
After Pacquiao beat Bradley on Saturday night, there were some who thought Pacquiao had turned back the clock three years and was the “old Manny Pacquiao.’’ The old Pacquiao, the one who KO’ed Miguel Cotto, would have drilled Bradley as he stood flat-footed and seemed completely out of sorts in the middle and late rounds. Bradley was there for the taking, but Pacquiao never moved to take him out, even though he had Bradley hurt a couple times during the match.
Before the fight, Bradley had criticized Pacquiao for losing his killer instinct and not being as aggressive as he once was. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, had called Pacquiao the “compassionate warrior.’’ Pacquiao said he would show everybody that he could still go for the kill. Instead he looked exactly like Bradley and Roach described him. Good thing for Bradley, otherwise he would have lost by knockout and not unanimous decision.
The first match two years ago ended in controversy as Bradley won a split decision in a match that Pacquiao clearly won. The only thing different in the rematch was that the judges scored the fight correctly this time.
Bradley again suffered an injury to his leg. In the first fight he tore a ligament in his left foot and sprained his right ankle. This time he said he tore a calf muscle in the first round. That forced him to alter his strategy of taking the fight to Pacquiao. Bradley basically stopped boxing after the fourth round and instead kept winging wild, looping shots that weren’t even in the same postal code as Pacquiao.
"After the first round Tim came back to the corner and said, 'I think I tore my right calf.' I began to massage it. He was in a lot of pain from that point on and I didn't have much to work with," Joel Diaz, Bradley’s trainer said in the ring after the fight.
Bradley couldn’t make good on a vow to knock out Pacquiao. He hit Pacquiao with a right hand early in the fight that lifted Pacquiao’s feet off the canvas. But the Filipino sensation took the shot and didn’t look any worse for the wear.
"I have no excuses," Bradley said in the ring after the fight. "Stuff happens. I got nothing to say about it. You can't say nothing against Manny. I lost to one of the best fighters in the world. Manny fought his heart out. I tip my hat to his whole corner, Freddie Roach and his whole team."
It was the first loss of Bradley’s career. There are still fights out there for him. But he probably won’t get a shot at Mayweather. If there was going to be a cry for that match, it was muted halfway through the fight when he was getting easily handled by Pacquiao. His performance against Pacquiao clearly demonstrates that he’s not in the same class as Mayweather.
There will probably be some calls for Mayweather-Pacquiao, but they won’t be as strong as they once were. He can’t beat Mayweather. Pacquiao is getting older and the quality of the match seems to deteriorate every time Pacquiao steps into the ring. You can only imagine what that fight would have been like if Mayweather and Pacquiao had fought in their primes five years ago.
Mayweather, who meets Marcos Maidana on May 3 in the same ring as Pacquiao beat Bradley on Saturday night, only seems interested in lining up matches for his golden parachute toward retirement and keeping his unbeaten record intact. Pacquiao seems to be marking time in boxing and earning as much as he can before he retires.
The days of a fantastic match between Mayweather and Pacquiao are long gone. Boxing fans lose again.
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