Branded as an “over the hill” and “ready to be picked apart has-been” by the title defending champion Timothy Bradley, the 35-year-old Filipino boxing hero, on Saturday, April 12, 2014, Manny Pacquiao proved to everyone, including the now deposed belt-owner, how utterly wrong they were. Pacquiao’s inspiring performance won him an unanimous decision victory to re-claim his WBO welterweight crown.
Besides bringing back the title to his country as promised, the fighting Congressman from Sarangani Province dealt the previously unbeaten and boastful American his first defeat in 32 contests. The victory came as a vindication of that highly questionable triumph by Bradley back on June 9, 2012. To most, the split-decision victory was considered a big mistake.
In the early rounds, with both men resorting to the use of the big haymaker, it appeared the contest might end early. Even though there were no knockdowns in the contest, it became obvious that Pacquiao was landing the harder and cleaner blows. According to the judges Pacquiao won 10 rounds in the eyes of judge Glenn Trowbridge and eight each in the eyes of judges Michael Pernick and Craig Metcaff.
Giving credit where it’s due, Bradley was the better fighter in both rounds four and five, while Pacquiao’s best round came in the seventh when he had Bradley cornered and landed consecutive shots to the head. This onslaught brought the crowd to their feet. For the remainder of the fight, Pacquiao was in the driver’s seat.
Bradley, who attended the delayed post-fight press conference wearing dark sun glasses, made the following remarks: “Manny was the better fighter tonight. He's a true champion. I lost tonight, but I will be back in the gym soon and be champion again. I respect him and his team, they did a good job in training."
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach: "Manny fought well, scoring with the better shots. He appeared hurt though in the fourth, but recovered quickly to control the bout from there. After six rounds, Bradley was no longer dangerous."
Paquiao’s appearance was delayed two hours. How so? In the final round Pacquiao sustained a nasty cut from an accidental head butt, a cut that required 32 stitches.