LAS VEGAS – If he hadn’t retired, Manny Pacquiao’s comeback fight was hardly pleasing in the eyes of his trainer Freddie Roach.
The 56-year-old lamented the tentative start the boxing superstar had against Timothy Bradley in their third duel together Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time) at the MGM Grand here.
The 12-round fight was the first outing of Pacquiao in the ring after undergoing surgery last year for a torn rotator cuff he suffered during his highly-awaited super bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“It’s not a complete Manny Pacquiao comeback, but it was a good first step,” said Roach.
It was not until the second half of the match when the Pacman turned the heat on.
Although ahead in all of the three judges’ scorecards at that point (58-56, 58-56, 58-56), Pacquiao left nothing to chance and went after Bradley with gusto.
The first knockdown came in the seventh round when he nailed Bradley with a left punch. Referee Tony Weeks made the count, although the American seemed to have slipped as he tried to avoid a Pacquiao follow up.
Bradley later found himself down on the canvas again after a short left by the Filipino run right smack on his face, causing him to roll over.
Pacquiao went on the win the match unanimously, all by scores of 116-110.
But Roach believed an in-form Pacquiao could have done better than this.
“He started a little bit slow because he’s very capable of doing a lot more combination,” said the seven-time Trainer of the Year. “He can really fire like that. He was content with doing 1-2-3 or maybe 4 at the most.”
"But I liked what he did. He was aggressive, he went after his opponent and he did what he was supposed to do."
Pacquiao never complained about his newly-operated shoulder, saying he felt like fresh again.
“Good thing it happened that I had a long layoff in boxing,” he said. “What I feel tonight is that I feel fresh. It’s like I’m starting here in 2001.”