Manny Pacquiao decisions Bradley. Does retirement or Canelo follow?
By Daniel Zaldivar
April 9, 2016
It was as though Manny Pacquiao was not phased by the loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May, as he knocked down Tim Bradley Jr. twice en route to a unanimous decision victory on Saturday April 9, from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao didn't miss a beat while frustrating Bradley with his well documented speed and power. Fans and experts alike did not know what to expect from the 37-year-old Pacquiao after his previous record-breaking loss last year. However, this was not the case as Bradley, a Coachella Valley native, tasted the canvas for the first time in his three bouts against the current congressman from the Philippines.
Bradley first hit the canvas from a Pacquiao one-two combination of a right hand and left-hook, which had him bend over his knees and have his gloves touch the floor. He [Bradley] maintained in the post-fight interview that he had lost his balance, but the video footage showed otherwise. Pacquiao didn't stop there as only two rounds later he stunned Bradley, 32, with his patented left-hand shot and had him hurt enough to follow up with a left hook that saw Bradley (video above) fall flat on his back.
Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) was coming into the fight having impressively defeated Brandon Rios in knockout fashion last November from the Thomas and Mack Center right down the street. This was the first time the boxing world got a chance to witness the in-fight pairing of Bradley and Teddy Atlas. It was as good as Bradley had looked his entire professional career and Atlas began receiving much credit for the performance. Atlas, a former ESPN commentator for their Friday Night Fights specials, knew this would be the toughest test for his fighter, especially since the controversial decision in the first matchup in 2012. Atlas looked to be getting angry in the corner in the later rounds, as he began seeing his fighter slowly lose control of the bout. Bradley attempted to inherit the corner motivation that he had a glimpse of in the Rios fight, but realized Pacquiao was on a different level than him.
The fighter nicknamed "Pacman" was asked on his future after the fight and if he still maintained his previous statements of committing to retirement from the sport that had him make over $500 million. Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, has stated his interest in making a potential bout with Canelo Alvarez should he get passed Amir Khan on May 7. He [Arum] also stated his interest in another Mayweather event if Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) could hypothetically get passed Canelo. Pacquiao, who fought against Bradley in front of a crowd of just under 15,000, said after Saturday night's fight that he was going to focus on his people and enter the retired life. However, when asked in the post-fight press conference about ever fighting again, he seemed to leave it to chance.
So he's seemingly left a window of opportunity. Fighting a Canelo would surely deliver from a financial standpoint and possibly on a competitive angle as well, as Pacquiao has shown his will to win against bigger opponents. But if this is indeed the end, then it's the end of an era. Pacquiao, along with Mayweather, have both stood above the rest the last several years and have managed to each propel their careers into superstardom beyond the sport. Pacquiao has been in politics in his native Philippines for the last six years and many have questioned whether his heart was still in the sweet science. Tonight's performance displayed that not only is his heart still in it, but he could still decisively achieve victory against one of the best in the world. This is the Manny Pacquiao the boxing world will remember.
Daniel Zaldivar is a boxing contributor for Frontproof Media & page2sports.com. He is the founder and CEO of Z-BoxingNews (a partner with Frontproof Media), a YoutTube channel that delivers the latest news, interviews, fighter workouts, & analysis within the sport. Check out the Z-BoxingNews YouTube channel HERE. Also follow on Twitter @Z_BoxingNews
(Feature photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)