LAS VEGAS – Manny Pacquiao finally had his payback against Timothy Bradley on Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time). Yet, for a fleeting moment, the ghost of the past almost haunted the boxing superstar again.
The Filipino pride finished the 12-round title rematch with flurry as he relentlessly pressured the American around the ring on the way to pulling off a convincing unanimous decision and regaining the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title.
They Said It!
“(Bradley) hurt (Manny) with a big right, and then hit him more with a couple of shots. Manny shook a little bit, but he’s definitely hurt in the fourth round." Trainer Freddie Roach
Pacquiao, 35, won it by scores of 116-112 (Craig Metcalf), 116-112 (Michael Pernick), and 118-110 (Glenn Trowbridge). He was down in both knees and in deep prayer in his corner together with her mother Dionisia Pacquiao when the scores were announced.
But he was man enough to disclose later getting hurt by a Bradley overhand right during the fourth round as shades of his infamous loss to the dethroned champion flashed back among Filipino fans who made up majority of the 15,061 crowd inside the raucous MGM Grand here.
“He hurt me on the chin,” admitted Pacquiao, who came more than an hour late for the customary post-fight press conference after receiving 32 stitches (15 outside and 17 inside) above his left eye following an accidental clash of heads in the final 10 seconds of the 12th round.
Trainer Freddie Roach said the eight-time world champion got a little bit careless during the exchange.
“He (Bradley) hurt him (Manny) with a big right, and then hit him more with a couple of shots. Manny shook a little bit, but he’s definitely hurt in the fourth round,” the 55-year-old longtime Pacquiao trainer said.
Bradley wasn’t aware he rocked Pacquiao at that moment, although he did hear his corner, manner by trainer Joel Diaz, screaming `He’s hurt, he’s hurt.’
“I didn’t really notice it. I tried to finish him up, but Manny’s really experienced in the ring,” said Bradley, who absorbed his first career loss in 32 pro fights.
The native of Palm Springs, California said Pacquiao being in shape helped him recover and survive the onslaught.
“He’s in tremendous shape, he recovered just like that. He got his distance and recovered it and fired right back.”
Although a little bit shaken, Pacquiao said Bradley didn’t really land a punch as vicious as the one let go by Juan Manuel Marquez that knocked the Filipino out cold in the sixth round knockout of their fourth meeting two years ago.
“Hindi rin naman kasi solid `yung punch,” Pacquiao said. “Kaya after nun, sabi ko kaya ko na ito.”
He did, and the end result had him getting his long-awaited revenge against Bradley.