Manny Pacquiao took down Timothy Bradley on Saturday night in what Pacquiao says was his final fight.
The fight, which took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, was the third between the two prizefighters. Officially, they had split their two previous fights, but most boxing experts agree that Pacquiao won both.
When asked about his plan to retire by HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman in his post-fight interview, Pacquiao doubled down on his intent to hang up his gloves.
“I have a commitment to my family that I’m going to retire after this,” said Pacquiao, who will return to the Philippines to resume his thriving political career.
Not much changed this time around for Pacquiao or Bradley. Entering the fight, Pacquiao was the favorite, and he showed everyone why when the bell rang to begin the bout. In their two previous fights, Pacquiao looked like he won convincingly but not overwhelmingly. This bout was much of the same, except for a few exclamation points turned in by Pacquiao in the form of two knockdowns.
Those knockdowns came in the seventh and ninth rounds. A replay of the first knockdown revealed that Bradley may have actually gone down because of a slip and not a punch, but the round would be scored 10-8 in Pacquiao’s favor since referee Tony Weeks ruled it a knockdown.
Bradley would recover nicely after new trainer and master motivator Teddy Atlas lit a fire under him between rounds. Bradley looked strong in the eighth round and even had Pacquiao hurt, but that success would be brief.
In the ninth round, Pacquiao caught Bradley with a short left hand from an awkward angle, something he has mastered over the course of his career, which sent Bradley to the canvas once again. While Bradley would survive the knockdown, Pacquiao took control from that point on, and any momentum Bradley could grab would quickly disappear behind a flurry of Pacquiao’s punches.
Although he hasn’t scored a knockout since his 2009 stoppage of Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao looked to finish the show strong in the final round and had Bradley hurt with only a few seconds to go. Bradley was saved by the bell and the fate of both fighters would be in the hands of the official ringside judges. All three saw the fight the same way, scoring it 116-110 in Pacquiao’s favor.
While the scorecards may make it appear that Pacquiao dominated the fight, that was not the case. Bradley gave a strong account of himself and never let Pacquiao pull away. Had he not suffered the two knockdowns it would have been a much closer fight on the scorecards.
Kellerman summed up the night and the feeling of many fans perfectly by saying, “Forgive me if we’re a little bit skeptical that this is in fact it, but if it is, it’s been incredible watching one of the greatest fighters who’s ever lived through the years. Thanks, Champ.”