World / Boxing

Vintage Pacquiao exits in style

By Agence France Presse in Las Vegas (China Daily) Updated: 2016-04-11 08:48

Filipino legend calls it quits after beating Bradley

Manny Pacquiao crowned his 21-year ring odyssey with an emphatic victory over Tim Bradley on Saturday, delivering a vintage performance before bidding farewell to boxing.

Vintage Pacquiao exits in style

Timothy Bradley (left) reacts as he is punched by Manny Pacquiao at MGM Grand Garden Arena.  [Photo/Agencies]

Pacquiao - fighting for the first time since his loss to Floyd Mayweather in the "Fight of the Century" last May - floored Bradley twice en route to a unanimous decision.

The judges' scorecards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena told the story of Pacquiao's dominance in the non-title welterweight duel, with the 37-year-old eight-division world champion winning by 116-110 on all three cards.

Pacquiao had insisted Saturday's bout - the 66th of his career and third against Bradley - would be his final fight before he focuses on his political career in the Philippines, where he is seeking election to the senate next month.

Many boxing insiders, however, believe he might be tempted to extend a career that has seen him post a recrod of 56-6-2 and earn more than $500 million.

Asked afterwards if he planned to stay retired, Pacquiao said: "I think so. I've made a commitment to my family that I'm going to retire. Maybe I will enjoy being a retired man, serving the people, helping the people.

"Thank you to all the fans in boxing, especially the Filipino people. I've really appreciated all your help and support."

Pacquiao had promised an explosive performance and was as good as his word for long periods, uncorking some trademark combinations to overwhelm Bradley.

"Bradley is a good boxer; he's a champion, he's a man. It was not easy tonight," Pacquiao said, shortly before a warm embrace in the ring which concluded with the two fighters arranging to meet for breakfast on Sunday.

Bradley paid tribute to his opponent.

"I fought really good tonight but I don't know what was going on," Bradley said.

"He always seemed to be in the right spot. He was a step ahead of me when I was supposed to be a step ahead of him.

"He used his experience against me, his ability and he won the fight tonight. I was in there with a special man and a special fighter in Manny Pacquiao."

A cagey opening round had the feel of a tactical battle, with Bradley carefully keeping his distance as he circled the marginally more aggressive Pacquiao, who threw 33 punches to Bradley's 19.

The next three rounds followed a similar pattern, with Pacquiao looking the more menacing, relentlessly stalking Bradley, cutting off angles and connecting with sharper punches.

Bradley, who won a split decision over Pacquiao in 2012 and dropped a unanimous decision in 2014, landed occasionally but it was Pacquiao who did the most damage, landing a straight left that caught his American rival flush on the chin in the second round.

Bradley started confidently in the fifth round but again his good work was undone by Pacquiao in the final minute when the Filipino uncorked a series of combinations to score heavily.

A weary Bradley returned to his corner to be admonished by his trainer Teddy Atlas, who yelled "Are you kidding me?" at the 32-year-old as he attempted to pump him up for the later rounds.

In the seventh, Pacquiao stretched his lead further, scoring a flash knockdown with a right hook to the chin that sent Bradley awkwardly to the canvas.

Bradley responded bravely in the eighth however, wobbling Pacquiao with a left hook and backing up the Filipino relentlessly.

Pacquiao's response in the ninth was emphatic, luring in Bradley and then tagging him with a left hook to wobble the American.

Another left hook sent Bradley down for the second time leaving Pacquiao with a commanding lead heading into the final three rounds.

Fast and furious Joshua takes title

Anthony Joshua became Britain's second reigning world heavyweight champion when he knocked out Charles Martin in the second round at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.

Joshua, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, captured his first world title in only his 16th professional fight by flattening the 6-foot-5 American to claim the International Boxing Federation belt.

Martin, who was making his first defense, was floored twice in the second round by right hands and failed to beat the count the second time.

Joshua, who turned pro in October 2013, is Britain's second reigning world heavyweight champion along with Tyson Fury, who holds the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization belts.

Joshua's triumph improved his record to 16-0, while Martin dropped to 25-1-1.

"I'm not getting carried away because I still have a lot of work to do," said the new champion.

"I've got David Haye and Tyson Fury calling me out. Trust me, when they step in the ring with me I will be ready. They will find that out.

"I come to knock people out. The power is always there."

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