Boxing: Manny Pacquiao beats Timothy Bradley Jr. in rematch

Manny Pacquiao gets his revenge against Timothy Bradley in a title fight. (USATSI)
Manny Pacquiao gets his revenge against Timothy Bradley in a title fight. (USATSI)

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Nearly two years later, Manny Pacquiao has his revenge.

The 35-year-old Filipino beat back the challenge on Saturday night of the same fighter -- Timothy Bradley -- who'd beaten him in a wildly unpopular decision to take his WBO welterweight title in June 2012.

Pacquiao got the nod this time, winning two scorecards by 116-112 margins and a third by a 118-110 score.

"I knew I had to do more in this fight than I did in the last fight," said Pacquiao. agreed with the scoring, giving it to Pacquiao as well, 115-113.

"Manny was a little sloppy tonight but I was happy with his performance," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said. "It looked like Bradley was going for a one-punch home run."

The loss was the first of Bradley's 10-year pro career and dropped him to 31-1. Pacquiao is now 56-5-2.

"The Bradley who fought Pacquiao the first time was not the guy who fought him tonight," promoter Bob Arum said. "He was confident.  The value of Timothy Bradley didn't go down; it went up."

"I have no excuses. Stuff happens. I got nothing to say about it. ‎You can't say nothing against Manny," Bradley said. "I lost to one of the best fighters in the world. Manny fought his heart out."

Final result: 116-112 twice and 118-110 once for Pacquiao. New WBO welterweight champion.

Round 12: They touch gloves for the last round. Pacquiao still coming forward and looks quicker, like he'd like to press for a KO. Bradley lands two straight one-twos. Bradley plows forward and lands. Pacquiao cut over left eye from apparent butt. Flurry at bell. Bradley raises hands. Pacquiao goes to corner. Looks like a new champion. 115-113 at worst for Pacquiao. Maybe 116-112. Bradley 10-9

Round 11: Pacquiao flurries, Bradley holds. He looks tired. And even though he's landing some counters, Pacquiao still looks more in charge of action. Bradley lands quick counter right. His best round in a while, though still not impressive. Bradley 10-9

Round 10: Fighters touch gloves at start of round. Media assistant comes by and announces 15,601 as attendance. Just short of a sellout. Pacquiao lands looping left, Bradley replies and ties him up. Pacquiao jabs and moves to finish round, leaving Bradley looking tired and frustrated. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 9: Bradley leaps with left hand that snaps Pacquiao's head back. He needs to win a round badly. Pacquiao drives him to ropes with left. Big flurry along ropes at 2 minute mark. Pacquiao got better of it. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 8: "Manny" chant thunders to start the round. Pacquiao lands flicking left and Bradley feigns wooziness. Bradley embracing villain role. But he's also gone less active and given away a couple rounds. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 7: Pacquiao busier in round's first half. Bradley scoring well to body. Pacquiao one-two drives Bradley to ropes and he lands well. Bradley stays in corner and waves him in, and gets hit for his trouble. Still, he stands defiantly in mid ring at the bell. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 6: Rounds have all been close, which may create decision issues in about half an hour. Bradley evading a lot of punches, but not active on offense. Pacquiao drives Bradley to ropes and again misses several shots and waves his hand dismissively. Crowd boos. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 5: Bradley again takes initiative to start with flurry. Crowd reacting with every Pacquiao movement. Pacquiao lands left on the inside. Bradley lands chopping right at 2 minute mark. Pacquiao throws eight punches in final seconds, lands none. Bradley returns to corner shaking his head. Bradley 10-9

Round 4: Bradley comes out firing and drives Pacquiao to corner, though he lands little. He swings and misses a wild right. Bradley lands right, Pacquiao snaps hands together. Bradley 10-9

Round 3: Pacquiao using speed and landing left hands. Bradley replies with uppercut along ropes. Pacquiao throws extended flurry in mid ring, landing some. Bradley hanging in, but speed difference is clear. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 2: Bradley the aggressor to start second. Wings a right hand that hits gloves. Bradley rough in clinch, showing no respect. Pacquiao lands straight left, wobbles Bradley 90 seconds in, then one or two more as action evolves. Bradley lands straight right in final 15 seconds. Pacquiao 10-9

Round 1: Bradley right to the body is the first landed shot. Both stand in ring center flicking jabs. Bradley lands straight right. Neither man averse to moving forward. Bradley overhand right scores in last five seconds. Bradley 10-9

12:19 a.m. ET: Center ring instructions.

12:10 a.m. ET: Sound has become more than an auditory experience as Pacquiao makes his ring walk with Katy Perry's Roar shaking the foundation of the building.

12:03 a.m. ET: Ashanti singing the US anthem in a dress that will no doubt get the attention of Joan Rivers and her fashion police.

12 a.m. ET: It's the midnight hour, and we're still waiting. Color guard approaching the ring. Two anthems to follow before ring walks.

11:54 p.m. ET: It's official. Beltran gets 118-110 once and 117-111 twice to win the bout unanimously.

11:51 p.m. ET: The final run-up bout ends in much the way it had evolved, with Usmanee still moving, albeit slower, and Beltran landing the harder shots in nearly every exchange. gave Beltran eight of 12 rounds, making it 116-112 on the unofficial scorecard. Official scores to follow.

11:40 p.m. ET: Boos rain down again when Bradley is shown getting counsel in the dressing room from former three-division champion and Pacquiao foe Shane Mosley. They again turn to cheers, however, when Pacquiao is shown praying with wife, Jinkee.

11:35 p.m. ET: The bout sheet lists it as 10 rounds, but Buffer announced it as 12. Either way, they're through eight and Beltran has probably won four of the last five to pull ahead. Usmanee is landing shots, but Beltran's are the ones whose thuds echo.

11:20 p.m. ET: Beltran, the California-based cat, is beginning to catch up more and more to his shifty, fleet mouse, landing thudding body shots that slowed Usmanee's pace noticeably in the fourth. Through three, the Canadian had done better landing quick shots and using his wheels to frustrate Beltran.

11:05 p.m. ET: Moving right along in Vegas on a card that's behind schedule. In the ring are Arash Usmanee and Ray Beltran for a scheduled 12-rounder in the lightweight division. If it goes the distance, Pacquiao-Bradley will be an after-midnight proposition.

10:57 p.m. ET: Vargas gets two cards at 115-113 and another at 117-111 to win the championship. agrees, also labeling it 115-113 for Vargas.

10:55 p.m. ET: It's over after 12 grueling rounds. Scores upcoming.

10:42 p.m. ET: Allakhverdiev's left eye is cut and his right eye is swelling, which prompted Weeks to another doctor visit in the ninth before again letting it go on. It's the price Allakhverdiev pays for being perpetually in the pocket, trying to outgrind his opponents.

10:38 p.m. ET: Referee Tony Weeks stops the action in the eighth to let the doctor take a long look at Allakhverdiev's left eyebrow, which is gashed. The fight is allowed to continue and they're back at it in the ninth.

10:30 p.m. ET: Through six rounds between Vargas and Allakhverdiev, who both are showing the facial effects of their profession. has it slightly for the champion through six, 58-56.

10:30 p.m. ET: Jack Nicholson and Miguel Cotto among the stars who've made the in-house big screen so far.  Not to mention, thunderous cheers when Pacquiao was shown getting his hands wrapped.

10:15 p.m. ET: The IBO junior welterweight title bout is in the ring, with Allakhverdiev carrying the fight through four rounds to Vargas, who fights out of Las Vegas.

10 p.m. ET: Vasquez gets the decision and walks away with his WBA hardware, earning one 117-110 score and two 114-113s. agreed with the bigger margin, 117-110.

9:45 p.m. ET: Felix is docked a point in the ninth round for low blows, which won't help in a bout that's slowly getting away from him in terms of content. has Vasquez up, 87-83, through nine.

9:33 p.m. ET: Halfway through the 130-pound fight, which is pretty well even thus far, though Vasquez would probably be ahead if you applied the "Which fighter would you rather be?" litmus test.

9:32 p.m. ET: Tim Bradley shown on the big screen entering the arena, and boos come from the crowd. Pacquiao is shown moments later to, predictably, sizable cheers.

9:20 p.m. ET: Three rounds in to an entertaining back-and-forth match in which both men have done good things. Felix is just 21 and has looked like it at times, but he bounced back well in the third after taking some big shots from Vasquez, who's 26, in the second.

9:05 p.m. ET: We've got fighters in the ring after 50 minutes of downtime in a still largely empty arena. Jose Felix (26-0-1) of Mexico and Bryan Vasquez (33-1) of Costa Rica in a 12-rounder for something called the vacant WBA interim super featherweight title. Robert Byrd is the referee. Levi Martinez, Dick Houck and Patricia Morse Jarman are the judges. And Michael Buffer makes his first appearance at the mic in center ring.

8:45 p.m. ET: A quick walk around the arena concourse illustrates that fight night in Vegas is neither for the faint of heart, nor the light of wallet. In addition to $20 official programs, visitors had their pick of $30 T-shirts and $70 replica gloves with adorned with Pacquiao and Bradley faces, not to mention $8.50 for a beer and $5.50 for a bottle of water.

8:15 p.m. ET: Time for a musical interlude at the MGM Grand. Pay-per-view show begins at 9 p.m. ET and the non-televised undercard -- at least according to the bout sheet -- is done. The pre-main TV fare includes Jose Felix and Bryan Vasquez in a 12-rounder at 130 pounds, Jessie Vargas challenging Khabib Allakhverdiev for the International Boxing Organization's 140-pound title and Arash Usmanee meeting Ray Beltran in a 10-rounder at 135. 

8:10 p.m. ET: Looking positively Klitschko-esque, Gvozdyk ended his debut night in rapid fashion when he dropped Montoya with a thudding right hand that sent him to the floor and immediately prompted referee Russell Mora to intervene. The stoppage came with five seconds remaining in round one, and closed a brief encounter in which Gvozdyk had scored with several big shots en route to the closer. 

8:03 p.m. ET: The bout that was in question over its length -- four rounds or six -- will be the latter. It's Mike Montoya (4-2-1) against Oleksandr Gvozdyk (pro debut) in a light heavyweight matchup. Gvozdyk won a bronze medal for Ukraine in the 2012 Olympics. 

7:58 p.m. ET: Make it three in a row for the red corner. Valdez improves to 11-0 and scores his 10th win inside the distance by stopping Perez with a two-punch combination -- left hand to the body, right to the head -- that sent him to the floor and rendered him unable to rise at 1:23 of the fourth round. For those looking ahead in the script, Pacquiao is also fighting out of the red corner.

7:40 p.m. ET: Moving right along, bout three is in the ring. It's an eight-rounder for super featherweights (130 pounds) and matches Adrian Perez (10-4-1) against Oscar Valdez (9-0). Valdez has eight KOs in nine wins, so it may not last long against a guy with little power himself -- one KO in 10 victories. Valdez fought for Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

7:35 p.m. ET: It's Brazil 1, Providence, R.I. 0 in Las Vegas. Falcao wins nearly every second of six full rounds while beating a lumpy red tattoo onto Pena's face. The silver medalist from the London Olympics earned scores of 60-54 on two scorecards and a 60-53 margin on the third. agreed with the majority and had it 60-54 as well. Falcao throws a ton of combinations, moves well and gets hit just enough to make it interesting as he climbs the ladder.

7:05 p.m. ET: The second fight of the night is about to get going. It's a scheduled six-round middleweight scrap between Publio Pena (2-1) and Esquiva Falcao (1-0). Falcao has got a distinctly Brazilian bent to his ring walk, complete with one guy carrying the flag and his corner men wearing the colors on their backs.

6:55 p.m. ET: Doing some quick math here. If each of the six scheduled fights between now and the main event go the distance, it'll be either 52 or 54 rounds (one of the bouts is labeled as either four or six). That'll make for a long, late night for the folks already here working cameras and shuttling papers, etc.

6:35 p.m. ET: In case it matters later, the officials for the main event are Kenny Bayless (referee) and Glenn Trowbridge, Michael Pernick and Craig Metcalf (judges). Trowbridge is based in Las Vegas, while Pernick and Metcalf are from New York and Canada, respectively. And no, C.J. Ross is thus far nowhere to be found.

6:30 p.m. ET: And we have our first winner. Sean Monaghan stops Joe McGreedy at 2:25 of the fifth after dropping him twice in the round, once with a wicked left to the body and moments later with a right to the opposite side of his leather-battered frame. The right hand prompted an immediate wave-off from referee Jay Nady. McGreedy had also gone down in the third from a left to the body.

6:10 p.m. ET: The ring announcer, referee and two fighters are in the ring with maybe... and we mean, maybe... 100 people in the building watching. Lupe Contreras' voice is cannonading through the near-empty arena bowl.

6 p.m. ET: The never-seen show before the show. HBO's Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman are ringside in tuxedos, taping their intros for the main event. Their colleague, Roy Jones Jr., is standing five feet to Lampley's left off camera, checking his cell phone.

5:58 p.m. ET: Eight fights are on the overall bill tonight, with the first one -- a scheduled 10-rounder between light heavyweights Joe McCreedy (15-6-2) and Sean Monaghan (20-0) -- set to start the show at 6:10 p.m. 

4:45 p.m. ET: Bradley's more confident this time, and whether by osmosis or otherwise, a few others have hopped on the bandwagon, too. Odds for the fight according to have Pacquiao as a favorite, but only to the point where it would cost you $200 to win $100 if he triumphs tonight. A $100 wager on Bradley would reel in $162, a far lower price than he was yielding two years ago for the first fight.

Additionally, a pre-fight media poll released by the fight's promoter, Top Rank, indicated that Pacquiao was the pick of 23 of 36 who offered predictions. 

3:58 p.m. ET: Either Timothy Bradley is really confident, or he’s got a really bright future in acting.

The World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) welterweight champion weighed in at a chiseled 145-1/2 pounds, then had no aversion to going nose to nose with challenger Manny Pacquiao in the waning hours before their rematch tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Bradley strode to the front of the stage after exiting the scale, and he smiled as he encountered Pacquiao, who weighed a half-pound less at 145.

Both men were comfortably below the weight class limit of 147 pounds.

“Let’s do this. Let’s do this,” a gum-chewing Bradley mouthed as the foes stood inches apart in front of an estimated 4,500 fans – most in the Filipino’s favor. Bradley defeated Pacquiao by an almost unanimously disputed split decision when the two fought in June 2012, but has since won two straight fights, while Pacquiao was knocked out and took 11 months off before returning in November.

The first bout of the undercard will begin at 6 p.m. ET. HBO’s pay-per-view broadcast will go live at 9 p.m. and the main event is expected in the ring sometime after 11 p.m.

Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said Bradley’s brazen pre-fight approach has been particularly motivating to the former seven-division champion, who, at 35, is five years Bradley’s senior.

“He's kind of motivated Manny to go for the knockout if he hurts him, because he's saying that Manny's no longer hungry and fights for the money only and has lost his killer instinct,” Roach said. “For him to say that is like a slap in the face to Manny. He's a little pissed off about it. I've never seen him this pissed off. He said, ‘Do you believe he said that to me?'

“I remind him every day.”

Record 55-5-2, 38 KOs 31-0, 12 KOs
Height 5-6 1/2 5-6
Reach 67" 69"
Weight 147 pounds 147 pounds
Age 35 30
Stance Southpaw Orthodox
Hometown Kibawe, Philippines Cathedral City, Calif.
Rounds 383 230

How does Pacquiao win?
Because the consensus is that he won the first meeting in 2012, most would anticipate that he’d simply do more of the same, which would entail being faster and busier and continually landing the harder shots. Much will depend on how much, if any, he’s slipped in the nearly two years since the first fight – a stretch which has seen him knocked out and shelved for 11 months before a one-fight return.

How does Bradley win?
Just as most believe Bradley lost the first time, most concede that he’s progressed in the meantime. The post-Pacquiao defeat of Ruslan Provodnikov showed an acumen for absorbing punishment and outlasting a strong foe, while the points win over Juan Manuel Marquez proved he could handle a top-end foe with footwork and speed. The latter is more likely to be in play Saturday.

Prediction: Bradley by a close, unanimous decision
If the snarling, perpetually violent version of Pacquiao is the one who reaches the ring Saturday night – and if the assumptions are wrong that Bradley has made significant improvement – then it could be a short night in the Filipino’s favor. However, the guess here is that “Desert Storm” is schooled enough to frustrate Pacquiao with movement and smart counters, and tough enough to fight his way out of trouble when it does inevitably present itself. That should be enough to win seven rounds in a fight that, if it goes according to Bradley’s plan, will be far more strategic than spectacular. Call it 115-113.

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