This weekend Manny Pacquiao set the record straight.
The 35-year-old Filipino dominated the unbeaten Timothy Bradley for the majority of their highly anticipated rematch. Pacquiao came into the fight needing to prove he was a better man following his extremely controversial loss in their first fight. Pacquaio was clearly the winner in the first fight yet somehow the judges managed to award the win to Bradley.
Both men felt as though they had to set the record straight following the first fight and opinion was split as to who would come out on top in this rematch, with the two men having contrasting fortunes since the fight.
Pacquiao had gone on to be knocked out in brutal fashion by long term adversary Juan Manuel Marquez before dominating Brandon Rios in a comfortable points decision. Bradley on the other hand had gone on to face the incredibly tough Ruslan Provodnikov in a brutal affair in which he came out on top. He then went on to face Marquez and easily out-pointed him by sticking to his boxing skills.
The fight started at a frenetic pace with both men looking to establish early dominance and take a foot-hold in the contest. The first round was fantastic action and really got the heart pumping in anticipation for how good a fight this could be.
Pacquiao did the better work throughout the fight with his quick combination punches when he let his hands go. Bradley was able to land well occasionally including in the 4th round when he rocked Pacquiao. Pacquiao's legs stumbled a bit before he regained his composure.
Pacquiao landed the better shots throughout the contest and at times rendered Bradley completely unable to land any offensive work. Bradley vas visibly hurt on several occasions but his warrior spirit kept him in there. Bradley actually beckoned Pacquiao towards him when he was hurt which is typical of his mentality but it did him no favours.
Some of the rounds were close but Pacquiao was winning them with his higher work rate and willingness to let his hands go. The rounds that were clearly won were won by Pacquiao.
Bradley seemed to get this tactics wrong for the fight as he neither brawled forward in his normal style nor did he use his skills to out-box his opponent. Partly this was due to Pacquiao himself, whose unorthodox footwork makes it hard for opponents to work effectively against him. Part of it was due to Bradley wanting to secure a knock out.
Bradley was allowing Pacquiao to come towards him in the hope of landing big shots up close. This wasn't to prove effective for the unbeaten American on the night and following the fight he admitted that the better man on the night had won.
The judges correctly awarded Pacquiao the win on the scores of 118-110, 116-112, 116-112 which represented the dominance that the Filipino had from the half-way point of the fight. The eight division world-champion put on a very good performance which highlights that he is still a world class boxer.
However that doesn't hide the fact that Pacquiao seems to lack a bit of the spite in his punches that he used to possess and isn't quite as quick as he was. This isn't a criticism of his performance as he did more than enough to beat his man in empathic fashion but it is obvious that he has declined in recent years.
In terms of what's next for Pacquiao the possibility of yet another fight with Marquez is an option. Another possibility is facing his stable-mate Provodnikov. That would be a hugely exciting fight but it isn't very likely as both men are trained by the same man (Freddie Roach).
There will once more be talk about a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather but that seems as though it will never happen.
The problem for Pacquiao is that he is with Top Rank and most of the top talent at welterweight is signed to Golden Boy. As we know the two promotional rivals refuse to work together meaning that there are a real lack of credible opponents for Pacquiao to face.
On Bradley's part he will have to learn from his mistakes and come back a better fighter, which wouldn't be surprising at all with his mentality and work ethic.
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