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 fight fans experienced a frightening moment in the fourth round of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch when the American landed a right hand straight to the face of the “Pacman,” temporarily dazing him.
Although Bradley is not known for his punching power, the blow clearly hurt Pacquiao, who spent the next few moments backing up as he attempted to recover.
In the later rounds, Bradley would try again and again to land the same punch, often winding up his arm to load up on the blow. But Pacquiao seemingly learned his lesson from the fourth round scare, and was able to mostly avoid the punch the rest of the way.
Filipino boxing analyst Atty. Ed Tolentino said this was an exhibition of Pacquiao’s boxing skill and footwork, as he completely negated Bradley’s primary weapon – the overhand right – en route to a unanimous decision victory to once again be crowned champion.
“This right hand (of Bradley’s) can only be thrown at a certain distance,” Tolentino explained. “It has to be a certain distance from Manny Pacquiao to throw that clubbing right hand.”
Tolentino explained that Pacquiao came up with counter moves to prevent Bradley from landing the punch, while at the same time doing damage to the American boxer.
“You know what Manny Pacquiao did to prevent that right from landing with alarming frequency? He frequently threw the right jab,” Tolentino said. “That right jab of Manny Pacquiao was thrown as frequently, like I’ve never seen it before.”
While some boxers throw their jabs half-heartedly, Pacquiao threw his with bad intentions. “That right jab packed power by itself,” said Tolentino, noting that Bradley’s head snapped back more than once, causing him to lose his balance.
“So it was difficult for him to gain proper footing, and gain leverage, and throw that clubbing right hand,” he explained.
“So once he tries to position himself to throw that right hand, there comes the right jab, pulling him back, making him lose his balance.”
Pacquiao was also wisely able to avoid butting heads with Bradley, a boxer who is known to lead by his head – at least until the final round.
“Bradley has a tendency, that once he gets hit, or once he throws a punch, he ducks so low. He has a tendency to crouch so low that if Manny Pacquiao had gone full throttle on offense, there is a possibility that Bradley will crouch so low, and then pull his head up, and bingo! You have a clash of heads,” said Tolentino.
The headbutt did happen in the final round, opening up a deep cut above Pacquiao’s left eye, which later required 32 stitches.
But for most of the fight, Pacquiao deftly avoided clashing heads with Bradley, thanks to his footwork.
“The idea, for Manny Pacquiao, is that he would attack, and then, once he sees Bradley crouching low… what Manny Pacquiao did is he spun around, and then try to catch Bradley with a punch, and then move out of harm’s way,” said Tolentino.
“By the time Bradley pulled his head up, Pacquiao is already several city miles away from him, and already positioned to deliver another counter blow,” he added.
Tolentino also commended Pacquiao for wisely refusing to take the bait when Bradley mean-mugged him in the middle rounds, daring the “Pacman” to come in and hit him on the chin.
“It was intentional,” Tolentino said of Bradley’s actions, which saw the American deliberately drop his guard. “The idea was to entice Pacquiao, show his chin., because he wanted to catch Pacquiao with a counter punch.”
“But Pacquiao refused to take the bait, because he knew that if he did, it would have been a disastrous one. He did not take the bait,” he stressed.
“(Pacquiao) decided to stick to his battle plan of coming in and out, in and out, wisely, side-stepping any counterpunches from Tim Bradley.”