Manny Pacquiao chases 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
American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. suffered a calf injury in the very first round of his WBO welterweight showdown against Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao , severely limiting his mobility especially in the later rounds.
Bradley, who was defending his belt for the third time, was clearly game in the first half of the fight and willingly got into exchanges with Pacquiao, but the tide turned in the Filipino’s favor in the seventh round.
Pacquiao became the busier fighter, repeatedly pushing Bradley against the ropes and unloading several punches, while the American was left to swing wildly.
After the fight, Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, revealed that his boxer suffered an injury as early as the first round.
“After the first round, Tim came back to the corner and said, ‘I think I tore my right calf.’ I began to massage it,” said Diaz, as quoted by ESPN.com. “He was in a lot of pain from that point on, and I didn’t have much to work with.”
Bradley went on to lose a unanimous decision, with judges scoring the bout 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 in favor of Pacquiao.
Bradley also suffered injuries when he first fought Pacquiao in June 2012, tearing ligaments in both feet but winning a controversial split decision.
The American boxer refused to use the injury as an excuse for the loss, the first of his professional career.
“I have no excuses. Stuff happens. I got nothing to say about it,” he said. “You can’t say nothing against Manny. I lost to one of the best fighters in the world.”
“Manny fought his heart out,” he added. “I tip my hat to his whole corner, Freddie Roach and his whole team.”
Bradley’s best round came in the fourth, when he visibly rocked the “Pacman” with a right hand. Pacquiao took control of the fight in the following rounds, however, dominating the seventh round when he unleashed a flurry of punches with Bradley pinned against the ropes.
“I tried, I really tried,” Bradley said. “I wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world. I lost to one of the greatest fighters in boxing.”
Bradley’s record dropped to 31-1, while Pacquiao improved to 56-5-2.