Timothy Bradley celebrates split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao in WBO welterweight title fight.
BY TIM SMITH / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, June 10, 2012, 1:10 AM
Bradley wins 115-113 on two out of three scorecards
LAS VEGAS – Timothy Bradley had youth and confidence on his side. Manny Pacquiao possesses power and speed in abundance. Pacquiao made good use of his skills to pound Bradley, but he couldn’t convince two of the judges at ring side that he did enough to win.
So Bradley scored victory in a 12-round split decision before a stunned crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. Somewhere in a jail cell at the Clark County Detention Center, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was screaming in outrage.
Judge Jerry Roth scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao, while judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford each scored it 115-113 for Bradley. The Daily News scored it 116-112 for Pacquiao. With the victory Bradley earned $5 million and the WBO welterweight title.
Even Bradley seemed surprised by the decision. He was booed lustily by the crowd after the fight.
It looked like Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) was on his way to a bounce-back performance for Pacquiao before the scorecards were read. He appeared to have lost the zip on his fastball in controversial decision against Juan Manuel Marquez last Nov. 12. Pacquiao wasn’t spectacular against Bradley, but then he didn’t need to be. Instead he was workmanlike in taking apart Bradley
Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) proved that he could hang with the big boys. But he didn’t appear that he had enough to take down a world-class caliber boxer and Pound-for-Pound luminary like Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao connects with a punch against Timothy Bradley in the third round of WBO welterweight title fight Saturday at MGM Grand Arena.
The fight got off to a late start as Pacquiao had to run on the treadmill to loosen up his calf muscles before getting gloved up. He had complained of cramping in his legs during his last two fights against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Neither man had airtight defense. Pacquiao was able to sneak in a quick left right combination down the middle in the first two rounds. But it didn’t seem to bother Bradley that much. Bradley seemed more interested in trying to earn Pacquiao’s respect through the first few rounds than landing anything telling. Bradley was trying to work the body and maul Pacquiao, who did everything he could to keep Bradley from head butting him.
Pacquiao opened up a blistering barrage of combinations that stunned and wobbled Bradley late in the fourth round. But he couldn’t put Bradley on the canvas. Bradley closed the round by landing a sharp left to Pacquiao’s chin, an indication that he was still in the fight.
By the sixth round Pacquiao had shifted into stalker mode. He was walking down Bradley, who had slowed down, and he was looking to land any straight shots down the middle. Bradley wasn’t throwing enough to dissuade Pacquiao of that notion. It looked like his plan to counter punch, something he had taken from tapes of Juan Manuel Marquez’ fights against Pacquiao, had been shelved.
Pacquiao’s speed and power were too much for Bradley. Before the fight those were the two things that Bradley said he didn’t fear about Pacquiao. But as the fight wore on, those were the two things that worked to his undoing.
Much was made before the fight of Pacquiao’s re-dedication to religion. He had always been a practicing Catholic, but he had taken to regular Bible study after his infidelity, gambling and late night carousing threatened to end his marriage. He had blamed those vices on his lackluster performance against Marquez.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, had applauded the new adherence to strict moral principles. He said it made Pacquaio more focused and had him coming into training fresher each day.
Bradley had come into the fight supremely confident that he could take advantage of any and all of Pacquiao’s weaknesses. If Pacquiao’s skill level had slipped at all, Bradley said he was ready to exploit it to his advantage. In the end he did enough to make good on his promises.
In other key undercard matches Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs) stopped Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs) on a TKO at 1:11 of the fifth round to take the WBA super bantamweight title. Rigondeaux dropped Kennedy twice in the second round and again in the third round before stopping him in the fifth…Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) won the vacant IBF welterweight title with a devastating TKO stoppage of Mike Jones at 2:52 of the 11th round. Bailey, 37, dropped Jones (26-1, 19 KOs) in the 10th round and then finished him off in the 11th with a crushing right uppercut that sent Jones flat on his back. Jones rose unsteadily on his feet and stumbled back to the canvas as referee Tony Weeks stopped it…There was a no decision in the featherweight match between Jorge Arce and Jesus Rojas after Rojas landed a low blow, a headbutt and then hit Arce behind the ear in the second round. Arce had dropped Rojas in the first round, but Rojas had battled back and looked like he was drawing even. Arce could not get up off the canvas and referee Kenny Bayless ruled it a no decision based on an injury from an unintentional foul.