LAS VEGAS — Tim Bradley overcame a second-round ankle injury and won the close rounds according to two of the three judges, even though he was out-landed in overall punches, on the way to dethroning Manny Pacquiao as WBO welterweight titleholder, setting up their already-designated rematch for Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, site of Saturday night’s fight.
With the win, Bradley (29-0, 12 knockouts) ended a 15-bout winning streak that included eight knockouts for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs).
Judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford had it for Bradley, 115-113, and Jerry Roth had it for Pacquiao by the same score. Attendance was 14,206 with a gate of a little more than $9 million.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, was outraged by the decision.
“These old f–ks don’t know what they’re looking at. What do you say after this?” said Arum. “Nothing in my career has stunned me as much as this decision.”
When Bradley complained of an ankle injury after the second round, trainer Joel Diaz gave him the option of having the fight stopped.
“You have two options — I can stop the fight right now, or we can continue,” said Diaz.
“I want to continue,” said Bradley.
“I got my second wind in the sixth round. I worked on angles and sticking and moving. Manny hurt me a few times in the fight with his left hand. Manny’s a beast,” said Bradley.
“My corner told me that if I won the last round, I would win the fight. I’ve got to give Manny a rematch. I’ve got to give him a chance to win his title back.”
Pacquiao out-landed Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds, with a 253-to-159 advantage in total punches, 63-51 in jabs and 190-108 in power punches.
Bradley out-landed Pacquiao in only the ninth round, while the 10th was even in punches connected with each landing 14 punches.
An eight-division titlewinner who was in his 60th career fight, Pacquiao last suffered defeat against Erik Morales by unanimous decision in March of 2005.
During that time, Pacquiao has twice stopped Morales, earned split- and majority decisions over Juan Manuel Marquez, knocked out Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton, and decisioned Marco Antonio Barrera, whom he also had knocked out in 2003.
Pacquiao congratulated Bradley’s father, Ray, and told Bradley “you’re going to be a great champion.”
“I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough, I guess. I’ve been watching tapes of Bradley’s fights in preparation. He never hurt me. Most of his punches hit my arms,” said Pacquiao.
“I don’t know what happened. There was no problems physically with my calves or anything. I think I won the fight. I would like the rematch.”
Photo/Chris Farina – Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org