By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Manny Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38KOs) got revenge with a hard-fought twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12KOs) to reclaim the WBO welterweight championship. The scores were 116-112, 116-112, 118-110. In June of 2012, Bradley won a controversial twelve round split decision over Pacquiao.
The felt each other out in the first. The speed and defensive skills of both fihters was on display from the opening bell. The second round was another story. Pacquiao was able to sting Bradley with a left hand, and then both fighters started slugging away in a brawl. Pacquiao got the better of the exchanges. The third was more of the same. The leather was flying and they were taking punches, giving punches, and there little to no holding.
Bradley got the better of the fourth with hard counters connecting to Pacquiao head, including a shot that shook up Pacquiao's legs. After bad start in the fifth, Bradley closed it strong punches to the head. The sixth was close with both boxers having their moments.
In the seventh, Bradley appeared to be winning until the final minute - when Pacquiao seemed to stun him with a series of shots against the ropes and continued trying to land more as Bradley was trying to lure him into a counter. Bradley looked tired for the first time.
Bradley seemed to take the round off in the eight, but neither fighter did much work. They went back to trading big shots in the ninth. Pacquiao seemed to get the edge with his punches, But Bradley got his licks in as well. Pacquiao controlled the action in the tenth, with his pressure and giving himself enough distance to land the right punches.
A close eleventh, as Pacquiao applied the pressuere and Bradley was on the defensive. Bradley had more offsense in the tweflth, but Pacquiao was able to outslug him. There was a clash of heads in the fnal twenty seconds that opened up a cut above Pacquia's left eye. When the action resumed, they traded punches until the final bell.