American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. brashly – and repeatedly – questioned the killer instinct and competitive fire of Filipino ring legend Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao leading up to their welterweight rematch.
Last Saturday night in Las Vegas, Bradley got his answer.
Pacquiao made sure that there would be no controversy in the rematch as he dismantled Bradley to win a unanimous decision, landing his left straight with frequency even in the latter rounds while the younger American faded down the stretch.
Although Pacquiao was unable to win by knockout, he clearly dazed Bradley numerous times, and unloaded a brutal 10-punch combination in the seventh round while “Desert Storm” was pinned against the ropes.
“Oh, he went for it. He went for the knockout, oh yeah,” Bradley said in the post-fight press conference, when asked if he saw Pacquiao show his killer instinct. “He definitely did.”
Bradley said he still felt the sting of Pacquiao’s power, although he noted that the “Pacman” was stronger when they first fought in June 2012 – a bout that Bradley won controversially.
“He still has the real sharp snap (in his punches),” Bradley said. “(But) I believe that the first fight, his punching power was way harder.”
“I was able to take it. I mean, he was very effective. He dazed me a couple of times during the fight, but I was still able to stay up on my feet,” he added.
Bradley, more known as a boxer instead of a brawler, surprisingly chose to slug it out with Pacquiao, especially in the early rounds, staying in the pocket against the Filipino and exchanging.
It worked in the fourth round, when he rocked Pacquiao with an overhand right that forced the “Pacman” to backpedal.
“He said I hurt him in the fourth round with a big shot over the top. (I tried) to finish, tried to finish up, but Manny, like I said, he’s real experienced in the ring,” said Bradley.
The boxer said he heard his corner shouting that Pacquiao was hurt, but credited the Filipino legend for not only surviving the round, but managing to come back with attacks of his own.
“He’s in tremendous shape, man. He recovered, just like that. He got his distance, he recovered, and he fired right back,” Bradley said.
Bradley, however, was unable to sustain his early onslaught. He looked tired in the second half of the bout, and often opted to wind up for a huge right hand in an effort to knock out Pacquiao. He wound up missing most of his punches, however, even as he denied that he was “winded” by the end of the fight.
“I wasn’t winded at all,” said Bradley, who expressed his belief that he would not have won a decision against Pacquiao, leading him to try to go for the knockout instead.
“When I started being aggressive, that’s when he was very successful. When I stayed back, I had a lot of success using my jab and moving and counter-punching. I was counter-punching effectively,” he said.
“But I think the rounds were close,” he admitted. “I just gave it everything I had towards the end and I put myself in harm’s way. You know, this is boxing. Like I said, I was gonna shoot for the knockout.”
The unanimous decision loss was the first of Bradley’s career.