By Chris Robinson
On Saturday, June 9th, Manny Pacquiao offered up what looked to be a clear victory over the formidable Tim Bradley. Fighting inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and looking for the fourth defense of his WBO welterweight title, Pacquiao took command in the early rounds of the fight with this power-punching while not appearing to be worried much about the incoming coming back his way.
Two scorecards reading 115-113 were scored in Bradley’s favor, giving him the split-decision victory over Pacquiao in a shocking turn of events. And despite seeing his record fall to 54-4-2 with 38 knockouts, Pacquiao’s stock is still very high in the wake of his latest setback.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone is as high on the Filipino star the way they used to be. Speaking with Showtime analyst Al Bernstein recently, he shared with me his thoughts on boxing’s latest pay-per-view event and spoke on the futures of Pacquiao and Bradley.
Bernstein didn’t see the fight live, as he was in New York for his induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but he has since had a chance to take in the contest on two separate occasions and each time he saw a clear victory for Pacquiao.
“Based upon that internet feed that wasn’t perfect, I scored it 9-3 for Pacquiao,” Bernstein said of his first viewing of the fight. “Then I watched it again on Saturday night when HBO had its re-air and I scored it 8-4 for Pacquiao. I though Manny Pacquiao won the fight, there was no question. There is no conceivable way in my mind to get to seven rounds to five for Tim Bradley. I just don’t see it.”
As far as the type of game plan he was expecting from Bradley, Bernstein admits he thought that the Palm Springs, California native would have tried to take the action to the trenches more often.
“I expected Bradley to swarm him more,” Bernstein claimed. “Bradley moved backwards for most of this fight and still managed actually to have his moments. He would attack in spurts. I think the foot injury was an issue for Bradley, I don’t think it was an excuse. He’s already not a big puncher and took away more of his ability to throw punches with power because you use your feet to do that.”
Bernstein then revealed that he was far from taken aback with Pacquiao’s most recent display.
“There’s one important thing to say about Pacquiao at this juncture. It was not a great performance by Manny Pacquiao, it wasn’t,” Bernstein continued. “It’s fascinating to me that he deserved to win, he beat a fighter who was undefeated. I don’t think Tim Bradley had a great performance in the fight. What was striking to me about Manny Pacquiao in the fight was that he was off-balance, lunging, looping punches, not as many combinations.
“This is not the fighter that we saw three fights ago,” Bernstein added. “This is the fighter that fought [Shane] Mosley and fought [Juan Manuel] Marquez. He won those two fights, Marquez you can make a strong case that he lost it, but we’ve not seen the same Pacquiao. It was the old Pacquiao coming straight in.”
The classy Bernstein still has obvious admiration for Pacquiao and while he still looks at him as one of the sport’s best fighters, he feels a matchup with undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. would likely spell trouble at this point.
“He’s thirty-three years old, he’s been in a lot of fights, and some have been difficult fights,” Bernstein said of Pacquiao. “He could probably still beat most everybody certainly from around 140 pounds up to 147. I do not believe he’s going to beat Floyd Mayweather fighting that way. That performance against Bradley, because all those time he was wide open to be hit with straight right hands that Bradley didn’t [throw], Mayweather would hit him with those punches.”
READER’s NOTE: For an inside look at Pacquiao-Bradley fight week in videos, including the post-fight press conference, grand arrivals, and exclusives with Bob Arum, Juan Manuel Marquez, Alex Ariza, Joel Diaz, Adrien Broner, Freddie Roach, Juan Manuel Lopez, Ana Julaton, Sampson Lewkowicz, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Diaz, and several other please visit Chris Robinson’s recently-launched Youtube page at CRHarmony YouTube Page