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List of Articles by Rob Cruz

An Aging Manny Pacquiao Solves Undefeated Timothy Bradley At His Prime

By Rob Cruz
15 Apr 2014

An aging Manny Pacquiao was good enough to beat Timothy Bradley who was regarded as a more seasoned boxer this time around with victories over elite welterweights Juan Manuel Marquez and Ruslan Provodnikov. This version of Manny Pacquiao looked lean, he was still lighting fast on his feet. However, let us not forget that Pacquiao who is into the twilight of his career is mortal and father time is just around the corner waiting him to hang up his boxing gloves.

Pacquiao’s aggressiveness, explosiveness and blunt force during the Cotto, De La Hoya and Margarito fights have diminished years ago. Although there are still glimpses of Pacquiao’s dominance and explosiveness that is executed in spurts, he relies on his ring experience and patience to get the job done now. Pacquiao executes his offense with controlled and calculated explosiveness. Look at it as self-preservation so Pacquiao can extend his fighting career oppose to the no holds barred and reckless abandon approach that could have serious consequences down the road.

Does he still “has it”? According to a post fight Timothy Bradley he has, Pacquiao proved that he still has a good portion of it when he needs to count on it. The People’s Champ still has enough punching volume and power punches to dominate the majority of boxers in his weight class that should keep him in the top heap of the pound for pound list. However, Pacquiao fans must face the current situation and have to lessen their expectations that Manny Pacquiao will knock out his opponent each and every fight.

Manny Pacquiao has proved his worth over the years as a nine time World Champion in eight divisions with 38 career knockouts. With a total of 63 fights and 56 wins under his belt, Pacquiao is nothing short of legendary with a future Hall of Fame career written all over it. By witnessing Pacquiao fight at the World Championship level at this stage of his career is part of Pacquiao’s legacy unfolding before you.
Timothy Bradley intensified everything about his boxing for the second fight against Pacquiao with bad intentions for a knockout. He started out very confident, determined and urgent. However, Bradley boxed out of his element by swinging with haymakers instead of his usual stylish and smooth pitter patter ring tactician which kept him undefeated. It was a tall order for both Pacquiao and Bradley to settle this fight by knockout. Bradley only has 12 career knockout wins while Pacquiao has not sent anyone to the canvas since 2009 when he scored a TKO victory over Miguel Cotto.

Photos by Dr Ed de la Vega.

In the second half of the fight Timothy Bradley faded, his sense of focus and urgency diminished as he fought with his hands down, his power punches and jabs decreased. A couple of power punches from Pacquiao exposed Bradley’s vulnerability after his chin got tested in the middle rounds, Bradley went back to his old self, distracted and shaken up. This was the same look on Bradley when Ruslan Provodnikov slugged Bradley to his knees. The fire in Bradley’s eyes subsided as he went defensive first and executed Desert Storm Shield when he used every trick in his book to slip, bob and weave from Pacquiao’s controlled onslaught.

Although Bradley did not admit that he got winded or hurt, his actions in the ring don’t lie as Pacquiao pulled away round after round after the third round. Bradley demonstrated that he has one of the best bob and weave in boxing as he was able to slip through many of Pacquiao’s punches. However Pacquiao’s spurts of explosiveness eventually caught up with Bradley against the ropes and while he was back peddling. While Bradley played possum with his hands down, he attempted to lure Pacquiao in against the ropes which may have looked good for a little while. The consequence of playing possum with Pacquiao’s hand speed proved that he was quicker than Bradley’s slip.

As awkward as the fight may have looked it was a matchup that worked, it looked close at times and very competitive. Pacquiao and Bradley were entertaining due to the fact that there was a good amount of exchange of firepower and both boxers’ ring generalship was masterful. This time around, Pacquiao was not denied the victory by unanimous decision which he has sought after in reconciliation of the first fight against Bradley where the fight was subjected to questionable judging.

This writer scored the fight 8 rounds to 4 in favor of Manny Pacquiao, certainly an agreeable score to many who reviewed the fight second fight. Many boxing fans agree that Pacquiao has 2 victories over Bradley. Expect a rubber match in the future as Top Rank will capitalize on a third installment to solve the robbery that took place during their first encounter.

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