[box type=”default” size=”large”] Knocks down American rival in 7th and 9th rounds [/box]
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Manny Pacquiao did Saturday night (April 9) what he could not in their previous bouts, flooring American rival Timothy Bradley twice on his way to a masterful 12-round unanimous decision in their welterweight war at the MGM Grand, here.
As retirement beckons for the 37-year-old Pacquiao, holder of an unprecedented eight world titles in as many weight classes, the Filipino put on a show of force against Bradley, scoring knockdowns in rounds seven and nine.
The three judges, Burt Clements and Dave Moretti, both from Las Vegas and Steve Weisfeld of New York, all agreed in scoring 116-110 for Pacquiao, whose last fight was a disappointing decision defeat to Floyd Mayweather.
Pacquiao sent Bradley, 32, down with a huge left to the kisser after landing a solid left moments earlier.
Bradley’s trip to the deck was comical as he fell on the seat of his pants before turning upside down, the majority of the crowd of 14,655 erupting in cheers.
As the audience eagerly expected a stoppage, Pacquiao could not put Bradley away although the Filipino icon said he had Bradley in trouble in the final seconds of the 12th and final round.
“He was hurt and if there was enough time, I could have probably finished him off,” said Pacquiao inside his dressing room, where personnel of the Nevada Athletic Commission took urine and blood samples from him.
Getting ready to attend the post-fight press conference, all the talk inside Pacquiao’s dressing room swirled around his victory and his retirement.
“Yes, I am retired and I am not sure if I will return to the ring again,” Pacquiao told a Mexican TV interviewer.
The reporter wasn’t satisfied and simply wanted more, asking him about the possibility of a megabuck rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., with whom he figured in the richest fight in the history of the game last year.
But Pacquiao wouldn’t budge, politely telling the reporter that this third fight with Bradley would likely be his last as he is concentrating on his impending role as a senator if he wins next month.
“As I have said, I don’t know the feeling of being retired so I don’t know,” said Pacquiao, who is said to be a sure winner in the May 2016 elections owing to his high survey rating.
Following the win, an emphatic one compared to the last in 2014, Pacquiao is expected to improve on his sixth to seventh place in the survey.
Politics, especially his entry into the Senate, excites him so much that when media people who were given access to him in the dugout kept on asking him about his boxing plans, he had everyone laughing with his curt reply.
“Let’s not talk about boxing now,” he said, smiling.
Pacquiao had announced his plans to call it quits about three month ago and he kept on repeating it, sounding like a broken record when he did a whirlwind promotional tour in the US last January.
Nobody’s taking him seriously especially those in the boxing business, but Pacquiao insists that if he begins enjoying his new life, he’ll have no choice but to stay retired.
Besides, Pacquiao doesn’t need the money anymore, being one of the richest athletes today.
Another thing that could prevent him from coming back is his family, notably his wife Jinkee, who is pleading for him to stop.
“Tama na ‘yan (That’s enough),” said Jinkee.
Bradley, who actually fought well in the early rounds with excellent lateral movement and a piston-like jab, didn’t complain about the way the judges scored their third fight.
“Manny was very strong the entire fight and he was also very patient,” said Bradley, who won the first fight in 2012 on spotty scoring but dropped the rematch in 2014 on a clear-cut Pacquiao decision win.
Bradley blamed his eagerness to go toe-to-toe with Pacquiao, who welcomed the idea of a slugfest.