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Pacquiao gets back at Bradley, wins decision

Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines, throws a right at the head of Timothy Bradley during the WBO welterweight title boxing fight Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao did not get the knockout he badly needs. But he got the decision this time.

Pacquiao outpointed a game Timothy Bradley to regain the WBO welterweight title before a packed crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Judges Michael Pernick and Craig Metcalfe scored the fight 116-112 for Pacquiao while the third judge, Glen Throwbridge, had it 118-110 for the Filipino, who avenged his controversial defeat to Bradley two years ago. Philstar.com likewise had Pacquiao winning 117-111.

Pacquiao, who earlier vowed to revert to his old, explosive form against Bradley this time, tried hard to dispose of the undefeated American in the late rounds. But Bradley proved to be a tough customer, even engaging Pacquiao in the early parts of the fight.

Both fighters started the fight with some exchanges, eager to get a decisive result contrary to their first encounter, where Bradley escaped with a disputed decision.

On Sunday, Bradley also had his moments, rocking Pacquiao with a booming overhand right in the fourth round. But the fighting congressman would regain control of the bout in the later rounds as he pressed the action against Bradley, who appeared spent and on wobbly legs.

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“He hurt me with a solid right hook in round 4, but I listened to my trainer Freddie Roach, worked on my timing and just countered him,” Pacquiao explained in a post-fight interview.

“I had to throw a lot of punches because he's doing the same,” he added.

Bradley, who in the build-up to the rematch questioned Pacquiao’s lack of hunger and killer instinct, finally acknowledged Pacquiao’s superiority over him on Sunday.

“He’s [Pacquiao] the better fighter than me today,” said Bradley.

Bradley started the fight strong by tagging Pacquiao with some right hands to the head and body. The American, unexpectedly, stood in front of Pacquiao for most of the fight and didn't back down until the later rounds.

Pacquiao began to gain steam in the middle rounds and let his hands go, at one point forcing Bradley to the ropes. By round eight, Bradley appeared to be tired and was contented to showboat, enabling Pacquiao to pocket the rounds with flurries.

Bradley later attributed his struggle to an injured calf, and his trainer Joel Diaz claimed his fighter was in pain in-between rounds.

Despite the convincing win, Pacquiao's knockout slump continues. The last opponent he stopped was Miguel Cotto in 2009, and on Sunday, Pacquiao tried hard to put an end to his KO-less streak.  Bradley wouldn't oblige though, and at times looked contented to just survive. 

With the win, Pacquiao improved to 56-5, with 38 KOs. Bradley, meanwhile, absorbed the first loss of his career in 32 fights.

Pacquiao, who suffered a cut in the final round due to an accidental head butt, later said the victory over Bradley is a sign that his boxing career is not yet over.

"This (win) proves that my boxing journey will continue," said Pacquiao, who has been fighting professionally for almost 20 years.

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