Manny Pacquiao firmly re-established himself as one of boxing’s pound-for-pound kings after a strong performance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against Timothy Bradley. The “Pac Man” got his revenge for what was a highly questionable decision loss in 2012 by becoming the first man to defeat Bradley via a well-earned unanimous decision. One judge had the fight 118-110 in Pacquiao’s favor, with the other two scorecards providing a winning margin of 116-112. Pacquiao improved to 56-5-2 to capture the WBO welterweight title.
It was Pacquiao’s second straight victory since a devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez that stunned the boxing world. Pacquiao recorded a lopsided decision victory over Brandon Rios in Macau, and followed up that triumph with an aggressive winning effort against the talented and tough Bradley.
Both fighters had their moments in the fast-paced contest, but unlike their first battle, the judges were able to get the decision right this time around. There doesn’t seem to be much need for a Pacquiao-Bradley trilogy fight, even though the official records show that it is one fight apiece, but as we know with boxing, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Bradley fell to 31-1 with the setback and clearly paid the price for his aggressive style. He was hell bent on looking for the knockout to silence his critics after his controversial “win” over Pacquiao in their first encounter.
While he landed some solid shots early, especially in Round 4 when he rocked Pacquiao with a right hand, Bradley seemed to have the demeanor of a fighter who had more than just 12 career knockouts. He was swinging for the fences and had bad intentions with every blow, and suffered down the stretch drive on the scorecards due to his inactivity.
Pacquiao’s work rate proved the difference, and his best moment came in Round 7 when he had Bradley wobbled by a series of crisp punches. He’s not the destructive finisher that he once was, having not scored a knockout since 2009 against Miguel Cotto, but showed he’s still a difficult assignment for any fighter.
So now, let the clamouring continue for the dream matchup that for some reason hasn’t been made. Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the fight that the sport has needed for years, but the two sides have been involved in the same old song-and-dance that has produced nothing but frustration.
It is simply mind blowing that the two parties can’t come to terms on a fight that would without a doubt be the most lucrative in the sport’s history. It appears as though as long as Pacquiao continues to be represented by veteran promoter Bob Arum, it remains highly doubtful that he will be able to finalize the matchup against “Money.” Arum and Mayweather have a fractured relationship that seems beyond repair. Arum was once again highly critical of Mayweather’s next fight during the post-fight press conference.
The 45-0 Mayweather is clearly boxing’s pound-for-pound king. and recorded a decision win in his last fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a matchup that broke previous PPV records. While Mayweather vs. Pacquiao has been talked about since 2009, and has been close at times to being done, there have always been obstacles that have stood in the way of getting things finalized for the Superfight that fans of the sport would still love to see.
While Mayweather and Pacquiao can still earn their mega-million dollar purses, the best future options for both are one another. While the revenge angle for another Pacquiao vs. Marquez matchup would be obvious, we’ve already seen that act four times. The fights have been exciting, but the interest level for that rivalry has peaked. A rubber match against Bradley would be a tough sell because Pacquiao has proven he’s the better fighter twice. On the flip side, there really aren’t many other attractive options that Mayweather can continue to milk on PPV once his fight with Maidana is in the books.
It’s high time that the nonsense ends, and boxing’s two biggest draws finally settle the argument as to who is the better man inside the ring. Unfortunately, we’ve been saying that for the last five years. It would be a shame for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao to go down in the history books as one of the greatest fights to never be made. It’s still not too late, but time is definitely starting to run out.