by Chris Robinson
On June 9th, Manny Pacquiao produced what looked to be a winning performance against undefeated Timothy Bradley inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Looking to make the fourth successful defense of his WBO welterweight bauble, Pacquiao’s early advantages in speed and power were evident, and despite a late stand from Bradley, the Filipino icon overwhelmingly swayed the public and the boxing media in his favor after twelve rounds.
When two of the three 115-113 scorecards were read in Bradley’s favor, Pacquiao and his supporters seemed to be in disbelief. With the outrage over the decision having died down nearly two months later, life has moved on for Pacquiao, who is eyeing a November return to the ring.
Having taken a look at the Pacquiao-Bradley melee, Argentina’s Sergio Martinez, the man many recognize as the world’s best middleweight, feels Manny did indeed do enough to warrant the victory but also took a shot at the eight-division champion when giving his assessment.
“I believe that Manny won. The same way that Marquez beat Pacquiao,” said Martinez as he spoke to me recently in Las Vegas, pointing to Pacquiao’s debatable majority-decision verdict over fierce rival Juan Manuel Marquez this past November.
As for Bradley, the backlash from his 29th victory as a professional was so unruly that he admitted it affected him to the point where he lost some of his desire to continue chasing his legacy as a champion. Asking what the Palm Springs, California native must do in order to block out the negativity and regroup himself, Martinez was very candid.
“You need to have strong heart and critics don’t have strong heart and you need to have a stronger heart than them,” said the 37-year old Martinez. “They criticize because they don’t have a life and it’s very easy to criticize another person. They say a lot of good and bad, but I don’t listen to either.”
Pacquiao got off to a brisk start vs. Bradley yet he seemed to ease off the gas pedal late in the fight, showing no signs of the killer instinct that helped make him one of this generation's most beloved figures. Now balancing his career as a prizefighter along with his duties as a congressman in his native Sarangani as well as other endeavors, you have to wonder if the 33-year old still has the same desire that helped get him to the top.
In Martinez’s eyes, the passion is still there, otherwise he doesn’t think we would be seeing Pacquiao fighting at all.
“I believe he still has the hunger, or else he wouldn’t go up in the ring,” claimed Martinez.