It was just like their first fight, except for the official scoring. On Saturday, Manny Pacquiao was too quick for Timothy Bradley, landing his left cross almost at will and cruising to a unanimous decision victory.
Bradley (31-1) is no longer officially unbeaten and Pacquiao (56-5-3) is the new WBO welterweight champion.
Despite all the apparent similarities, Bradley won a split decision in the first meeting. This time, two judges had Pacquiao winning 8 rounds to 4, and the third scored it 10-2.
That’s how the first meeting should have been scored, and it’s a shame in retrospect that Pacquiao was overly maligned as a result of that fight, even before he suffered a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Instead of being a guy who hadn’t won a signature fight impressively since Miguel Cotto in 2009, Pacquiao can claim two sensational victories over a bona fide top-10 pound-for-pounder in Bradley, and his only clear-cut setback was the counter right from nowhere that Marquez landed a year and a half ago in a bout Pacquiao was winning handily.
If the issue was whether Pacquiao still has the desire to be a superstar boxer, he won over a lot of doubters Saturday. He did seem to want this one even more than most. He seemed more willing to go all out, to risk fatigue, especially when he thought he had a chance to finish Bradley in the seventh.
Although one would hope Pacquaio has a plan for winding down his career in the next two years or so, he made it plain Saturday that he’s good for several more fights’ worth of excitement. There will be renewed calls for a showdown with Floyd Mayweather, that’s for sure.