LAS VEGAS -- Can Manny Pacquiao regain the ring savageness that made him a star, or will Timothy Bradley gain some redemption after taking so much heat over his 2012 controversial split-decision victory over Pacquiao?
The Times is ringside tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the World Boxing Organization welterweight title bout between Coachella Valley’s Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) and Filipino star Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) and will provide live round-by-round updates.
Pacquiao hasn’t knocked anyone out in seven fights, dating to 2009, and his decision to cruise through the final rounds of an apparent one-sided win in the first meeting against Bradley cost him valuable points on the scorecards.
Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross, who gave the Bradley the victory over Pacquiao, are out of the judging business. There’s three new judges: Nevada’s Glenn Trowbridge, Florida’s Michael Pernick and Canada’s Craig Metcalfe.
Bradley rallied from the controversial victory to beat Ruslan Provodnikov in the 2013 fight of the year and Juan Manuel Marquez by split-decision in October, and he’s doubled down on his claims that he won the first Pacquiao fight by now saying Pacquiao has lost his killer instinct.
That claim has chafed Pacquiao, who has said he’s intent to prove against Bradley that the knockout power remains.
At 35, he now confronts the truth.
Eight-time world champion Manny Pacquiao entered the arena to Katy Perry's "Roar," and Bradley walked in to a friend's rap. Bradley at introduction by Michael Buffer raised both arms skyward. The referee is Kenny Bayless. Both men exchange stern looks at instructions. Pacquiao hasn't been in this ring since his knockout loss to Marquez in 2012.
Here's the round-by-round updates (scoring is unofficial):
Round 1: Pacquiao jabs and lands a left to Bradley's ribs. More jabs, he covers on a Bradley punch. Good right by Bradley to face. Jab by Bradley lands. Left-right combination by Bradley. Good right by Bradley, Pacquiao answers with left at bell. Bradley wins round, 10-9.
Round 2: Bradley swings a hard right that hits Pacquiao, who slightly covered. Bradley stumbles against pressure by Pacquiao, who is looking for an opening. He finds one with a big right, then backs Bradley to the ropes with a combination. More Pacquiao pressure and Bradley is backpedaling, but regains himself and they brawl twice. Big Bradley right. Pacquiao is OK. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Fight is even, 19-19.
Round 3: Pacquiao opens by landing combination. Two good Pacquiao lefts. Another Pacquiao combination and the crowd is roaring. Bradley's superb shape is letting him endure punishment while Pacquiao is not chasing for the knockout. Good Bradley right. Answered by a better Pacquiao flurry. Good Bradley left uppercut followed by resounding Pacquiao combinations. Heck of a pace. Can they continue? Bradley still punching at end, but is fatiguing. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao leads fight, 29-28.
Round 4: Pacquiao continues jabbing. Bradley swings but misses. Bradley works to the body and head. Taking a little breather here. Good rights by Bradley; Pacquiao is backed up. Pacquiao goes to the body. Some good rights by Bradley to finish. Bradley wins round, 10-9. Fight is even, 38-38.
Round 5: Left-right-left combination by Bradley has Pacquiao covering. Good left by Pacquiao with Bradley ducking down. Bradley works to the belly. Pacquiao holds down Bradley's head as he ducks again. Good left by Pacquiao. Hard right by Bradley, followed by a good left by Bradley. Way better action than first fight. Pacquiao strikes with a left. Bradley nods like it didn't touch him. Bradley wins round, 10-9. Bradley leads fight, 48-47.
Round 6: Opening combination by Bradley. Right-left by Bradley blocked by Pacquiao. Bradley looks fresher after Pacquiao pressure had tired him early. Left by Pacquiao. They're each missing otherwise. Right by Bradley. Pacquiao corners Bradley, lands a glancing blow. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Fight is even, 57-57.
Round 7: Bradley charges in, delivers a body shot. Pacquiao lands a left. Another good left backs up Bradley, who then slips. Bradley moving head like on swivel. Pacquiao gets best of an exchange. Bradley answers with two scoring blows. Pacquiao combination, he chases looking for a big blow. Bradley asking for more. I knew he'd revert to Provodnikov warfare. He got the worst of that by far. Crowd erupts at bell. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao leads fight, 67-66.
Round 8: Pacquiao lands a left. No denying Bradley can take a punch. Pacquiao combination, Bradley slips again. Pacquiao lands a right to the chin. Bradley looking for a good opening to land a whopper. And he doesn't like the punishment he got in last round. Bradley playing around. Pacquiao jabs again. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao leads fight, 77-75.
Round 9: Bradley throws some jabs. Pacquiao makes him eat two lefts. Bradley slips again. Pacquiao with good pressure. Bradley sent to the ropes by flurry; ropes helped keep him up. Better lefts by Pacquiao in a strong exhange. Bradley misses a wild swing. Pacquiao lands hard right to the head. Pacquiao gets better of late combination. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao leads fight, 87-84.
Round 10: Bradley's right eye is treated between rounds. Good Pacquiao jab to open round. Bradley not dealing well with an aged fighter; Pacquiao still moving well. Two Pacquiao lefts and a combination answer a Bradley attempt. Right uppercut and left by Pacquiao. Bradley appears to be fading. Two good rights by Pacquiao before the bell. Bradley is tired and beat up. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao leads right, 97-93.
Round 11: Good Bradley counter to start. Pacquiao then backs him to corner ropes and Bradley's hugging now, no more warfare. Bradley nearly falls while throwing a right. Action is slowing. Bradley continues to backpedal. He appears to want no part of this, maybe hoping for bad judging again. Big left by Pacquiao. A counter by Bradley, then a right by Bradley. Pacquiao dealing with a fighter going backward. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao leads fight, 107-102.
Round 12: Pacquiao waiting for Bradley, who is still on his stool. Good Pacquiao left to open. Bradley throws right-left combination. Good left by Pacquiao. Another good left by Pacquiao. He's not wasting the late rounds this time. Pacquiao puts Bradley on ropes again with scoring blows. Maybe he shouldn't do this, but after the judging in last and criticism of no killer instinct, he's trying. Pacquiao cut under left eye. Action resumes. Bradley has nerve to raise arms after the bell; Pacquiao on top ropes acknowledging crowd. Pacquiao wins round, 10-9. Pacquiao should win fight, 117-111.
The judges are in agreement, scoring it a unanimous decision for Pacquiao: Glenn Trowbridge has it 118-110, Craig Metcalfe 116-112 and Michael Pernick 116-112.