But it didn’t always look like the victory was going to come as easy as it looked in their first fight. Bradley started off at his usual workhorse rate throwing and knowing that while his punches might not be as hard as Pacquiao’s, they were still landing and could easily sway one of the three judges scoring the fight. In my notes for the first round I even wrote that the round could have gone either way (I scored the first for Bradley).
When Pacquiao landed shots of his own they were getting the crowd excited but Bradley seemed to be weathering the storm, sometimes dropping his hands and smiling in front of Pacquiao. At the end of the sixth round, his speed and accuracy for shots – including a right hand that lifted Pacquiao off of his feet – was giving him the advantage in the fight and I had him ahead 58-56.
Pacquiao was aggressive but I could sense an air of caution of his movements. I think in the back of his mind Pacquiao knew that there wasn’t much of a chance of Bradley knocking him out but he also knew that Bradley’s strength is not to be underestimated. I think Pacquiao was tense about getting caught with a punch that might put him off balance or even knock him down which would make victory a lot harder to secure.
However after the sixth round, I didn’t find any more round to give to the brave Tim Bradley. After a while his confidence seemed to be going too. No longer was he dropping his hands and glaring at Pacquiao as they went to their corners. Bradley’s hands were up near his head in a very defensive manner and he always seemed to be backing up. Now that could have been his attempt to catch Pacquiao with something big but after a while it did seem like Manny was becoming aware that he could take Bradley’s punches.
At one point in round ten there was a near crisis at the sports bar as the image on the TV froze and the whole bar erupted in outrage. The technical difficulty lasted no more than five seconds but you can imagine how nervous we all were in those five seconds, wondering if we were going to lose out on seeing the fight.
Towards the end of the fight the only drama that occurred-along with the growing feeling among the pro-Pacquiao crowd that their hero might get a knockout victory-was when an accidental clash of heads opened a small cut on Pacquiao’s head. However with twelve seconds to go in the fight it wasn’t much of a game changer in the long run, though looking back through my ropes it looked like Bradley was able to finish well that round-which I gave to Pacquiao.
Scores of 116-112 twice and 118-110 for the new champion, Manny Pacquiao, were met by load roars and high fives in the bar. I also scored the fight 116-112.
Pacquiao complimented Bradley on giving the fans a good fight and credited his corner for his success and gave the usual line about leaving his next fight up to his promoter.
Bradley to his credit was smiling, hugging Pacquiao and admitted that a calf injury had hindered his performance (He was wearing socks this time) but not use that to take anything away from Manny’s victory. He said that Pacquiao was one of the best fighters in the world and that he wants to still fight the best opposition available to him.
I liked this fight. It seemed like speed chess with it being very technical at times but never boring due to Bradley’s ability to sometimes surprise Pacquiao with his punches and Manny’s ability to show that while he is older he can still show flashes of the Manny Pacquiao of old.
Where do they go next from here. The talk is that Pacquiao gets the winner of the upcoming Juan Manuel Marquez/Mike Alverado fight and unless Marquez wins, I’m not sure if I’d want to see it. Personally, if I were Manny Pacquiao, I would probably think now was as good a time as ever to retire.
Think about it, he’s 35, been boxing as a pro for almost 20 years, has growing political aspirations and while he did look good against one of the best fighters in the world, I do think that he was holding back on pulling the trigger. And if he did it against Bradley, how tense do you think he’ll be in the ring against the man who knocked him out?
Please, don’t talk about a Floyd Mayweather fight. Chances are that some reporter in the next few days will ask Floyd what he thought of Manny’s performance and Floyd will act stupid and say he doesn’t know who Pacquiao is.
Besides, the idea of those two fighting isn’t as delicious as it was four years ago and Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza told me on Twitter that a fight like that would only happen if Manny went to Showtime and that there was no need to do a joint venture between the networks like they did with Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson back in 2002.
There are lot of opportunities for Tim Bradley. For one thing, I think if he hadn’t redeemed himself with boxing fans after the fights with Provodnikov and Marquez then he certainly had to do it with this fight. He won more rounds, certainly make it more competitive and above all, didn’t make any excuses afterwards. He didn’t say he would have to go and watch the tape to see if he lost nor did he address his injured calf during the press conference.
When I saw Bradley speaking though, I thought, I wonder if he’ll jump ship to Golden Boy and Showtime? Though to do that you need to sign with Al Haymon these days and Bradley’s wife is his manager so…probably not.
Tim Bradley may have lost his title and unbeaten record but he probably got a lot of respect. I’m looking forward to his next fight.
As for the undercard.
Well…I was starting to use Twitter during the Vargas fight but my phone battery died quickly. And that might have been due to boredom. Sorry if you enjoyed those fights but I didn’t. I was more interested in chatting it up with the hot waitress than constantly asking myself why Vargas was moving the wrong way against a southpaw (FYI, I was saying that well before the HBO commentary team did).
Top Rank and/or HBO, please do something to improve the undercards. Hate to say this but look at the Golden Boy/Showtime model. Most of the times the undercard is stealing the show on the main event.