LAS VEGAS, Nevada: Unbeaten American Timothy Bradley ended MannyPacquiao's 15-fight winning streak with a controversial splitdecision victory over the Filipino ring icon on Saturday. Judge Jerry Roth scored the bout 115-113 for Pacquiao, while C.J.Ross and Duane Ford both saw it 115-113 for Bradley, even though itappeared Pacquiao hurt Bradley throughout the fight -- particularlywith his straight left hand. Pacquiao fell to 54-4-2 with 38 wins inside the distance, sufferinghis first defeat since he dropped a 12-round unanimous decision toErik Morales in March 2005. Bradley improved to 29-0 with 12 wins inside the distance andseized Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization welterweight title. |
Pacquiao, a world champion in eight weight classes who is reckonedthe best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, said he thought hehad done enough to win. "Absolutely, yes," he said during a post-bout interview, to cheersfrom the crowd. "He's a strong puncher, he rocked me a couple of times in thefight, but I held my ground and fought to the end," Bradley said."This is boxing. "Every round was pretty close.
Pacquiao won some of the earlyrounds. I controlled the later rounds with my jab. "I need to go home and review the tape," he added. Promoter Bob Arum called the decision "unfathomable" and"incomprehensible".
"I want to congratulate Tim Bradley, he's going to make a lot ofmoney," Arum said. "But I want to say I have never been ashamed asmuch to be associated with the sport of boxing as I am tonight." Bradley came out aggressive and got the better of the exchangesearly in the first round before Pacquiao hurt the American withthree straight lefts late in the round. Pacquiao continued to get to Bradley with the straight left in thesecond and third rounds, connecting also with some right hooks tothe body and the occasional over-hand left. Bradley stayed in front of him and kept punching but didn't appearto be hurting the champion.
In the fourth Pacquiao hurt Bradley with a series of blows. Afterone exchange that included a left to Bradley's jaw the Americanstumbled back. Pacquiao rocked Bradley with another left to the head in the fifthand in the sixth backed Bradley into the ropes, unleashing abarrage that included a strong right hook to the body. A tenacious Bradley continued to challenge Pacquiao, and it wasBradley's work in the final three rounds that turned the tide forthe judges, even though by then he was complaining to his corner ofpain in his right foot, which he had twisted in an earlier round.
Bradley appeared at the post-fight press conference in awheelchair. The announcement of the result was greeted by boos from thepro-Pacquiao crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Pacquiao's wife,Jinkee, and sons Manny jnr and Michael -- watching their fatherfight in Las Vegas for the first time -- looked stunned. However, Pacquiao wasn't prepared to criticize the judging.
"It's part of the game," said the fighter, who earned acontroversial majority decision of his own over Juan Manuel Marquezin November to keep his winning streak intact. Arum said Saturday's decision was more of a shocker than Pacquiao'snarrow win over Marquez. "It was close, everybody said it was close," Arum said ofPacquiao-Marquez. "This wasn't really a close fight." - AFP/wm.
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