Manny Pacquiao is hit by undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines –- Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao was able to reclaim the WBO welterweight crown by coming up with a solid effort against a wild-punching Timothy Bradley on Sunday.
Veteran sports columnist Recah Trinidad is thankful that Pacquiao was able to gut out a unanimous decision despite the awkward fight strategy Bradley posed against the Filipino.
“Unang una nanalo tayo. ‘Yun ang kailangan, makuha ulit ang titulo, although hindi natin ine-expect ito… siyempre ang mga tao inaantay 'yung knockout, pero this is really worth a thank you prayer,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist said in an interview on DZMM.
Trinidad is thankful that the fighting pride of the Philippines was able to shake off a big right hand from Bradley in the fourth round, adding that he believes Pacquiao could have been in bigger trouble if that was Juan Manuel Marquez throwing the right.
“Gaya nung tinamaan siya ng Round 4, siguro parang nayanig siya. Swerte tayo dun, hindi kamag-anak ng suntok ni Marquez 'yung ibinato sa kanya, pero sapul na sapul siya,” noted Trinidad. “Pero kung si Marquez ang bumato aba baka knockout po siya.”
Except for the fourth round, he said Pacquiao did well defensively.
“Hindi naman masasabing masama ang depensa ni Manny… nandoon naman yung intensity at eye of the tiger, pero wala yung power,” said Trinidad. “I think nalaman na niya kung saan siya mag-aadjust.”
Bradley indeed gave the Filipino a boxing puzzle, sometimes engaging Pacquiao in a brawl and at other times employing a “stick-and-move” tactic.
But what befuddled Pacquiao the most was Bradley’s repeated overhand right, which the American winged every time the Filipino unleashed his left hand.
That tactic, however, backfired as the Filipino landed the more telling blows. Compubox statistics showed that Pacquiao connected 198 of his 563 punches, while Bradley had only 141 of his 627 attempts on target.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110, thereby awarding the WBO welterweight belt to Pacquiao.
The Filipino superstar admitted he was shaken after being tagged by Bradley’s right hook
“He got me in the fourth round with a solid punch right hook and then I listened to my corner, Freddie Roach. ‘[He said] hands up, timing. Just counter him.’ I’m very careful to throw because his punches are coming from the outside. So I kept throwing inside punches,” Pacquiao said during the post fight interview.
Bradley, who shocked Pacquiao during their first meeting with a dubious split decision, said the fighting congressman deserves the accolade. “He’s the better fighter tonight. That’s what he is,” he said.
The American also explained the logic behind his wild punches, citing that it was just part of his game plan.
“I was trying to hit him from the top, I’m trying to hit him where he doesn’t see while he’s throwing. That was part of the game plan, throw over the top while he’s exchanging,” he said.
Meanwhile, sports analyst Boyet Sison said Pacquiao’s indeed hammered out a convincing win.
But he noted that Pacquiao’s failure to come out with the knockout victory puts into question his ability to take out his opponent.
“A unanimous decision simply means the judges were in agreement among each other and established that Manny indeed won. But a decision was not in the original plan of Manny. Remember, he wanted a knockout. Decision simply means that Bradley was able to hold his own against Manny,” he said.
“He's now on track to maybe yet another shot at probably against [Floyd] Mayweather which is the fight that everybody wants to see. But on the other hand, now we have this question: Does he still have it? Because he said he will knock this guy out, but he did not,” said Sison.
“But he won.”