Welterweight swarmer Manny Pacquiao, 35, is determined to shake-up the 147lb title picture by reclaiming the belt he once wore around his waist, now strapped to the man who decisioned him somewhat contentiously in June, 2012; Timothy Bradley. The Filipino legend even told the American he has only one way to win…
Manny Pacquiao rolled back the years and put an Antonio Margarito-style beating onto another Robert Garcia fighter, Brandon Rios, a 27-year-old who trains out of the Oxnard, in order to bounce-back from a two-fight losing streak. The Filipino icon looked dominant and fluent as he picked Rios apart, painted a pugilistic masterpiece and may now have one of two Americans put up on his easel for his next outing… but who?
Brandon Rios believes luck is on his side for his fight against Manny Pacquiao after he reported to the media that he defeated the Filipino fighter in a foot race along the Great Wall of China. Part of the two boxers press tour involved a photo shoot on the Great Wall followed by a race which Rios says was won by him…
Photo Credit: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Filipino belt-collector Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38ko) and Mexican ring legend Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39ko) trade blows for a fourth time on Saturday, December 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The two have fought for 36 rounds already and, despite only a modicum of interest when the match-up was first announced, Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum today confirmed that the Arena’s 16,000 seats have all sold which fetches $10.5m. Pacmania is officially upon us…
Alan Dawson – London
Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Showtime
On May 2, 2009, Manny Pacquiao defeated Ricky Hatton with a stunning left hook knockout in the second round of a Las Vegas showdown. By the Mancunian’s own admission, Pacquiao beat him into retirement, depression, a battle against alcohol and drugs and even became suicidal having also lost contact with his parents. His comeback to the ring, Hatton said this week, was an attempt to exorcise personal demons but, against Vyacheslav Senchenko on November 24, The Hitman failed to relive his glory days as he suffered a gut-wrenching knockout defeat due to a ninth round shot to the body.
Official verdict: Senchenko by 9th Rd KO.
Manchester City fan Hatton (45-3-0, 32ko) may have lost 70-80lbs in order to gain his welterweight physique but the affable former two-weight world champion kept every single one of his fans as 20,000 supporters at the Manchester Arena erupted into a raucous hysteria when the melody and lyrics of “Blue Moon” filled the ground. Senchenko (33-1-0, 22ko) did himself well in playing up to the role of visiting villain as the once-defeated 147lber wore a Manchester United strip to the ring.
While Senchenko demonstrated an understanding and appreciation of a: the jab and b: the counter right, the main motif of the opening round was Hatton’s trademark focus to the body both with the jab, but mainly the left mitt to the gut. Hatton continued to pressure Vyacheslav in the second round, however, when it came to timing, the Englishman’s three-year absence from the professional circuit became apparent. He also walked into punches but his sheer activity… his bulldogged attitude, forthright behaviour and his relentlessness overcame Senchenko’s work.
In the third and fourth rounds, Senchenko began play-acting and taunted Hatton whenever Ricky landed. Any smirk, though, was wiped off of his face when Hatton punched hard to the midsection. Hatton’s frenetic pace slowed somewhat in the fourth and, because he kept his jabbing mitt so wayward, he was vulnerable to an overhand right. Senchenko, however, at this point in the fight was not the fighter who would capitalise on this and embark on a calculated offensive. Hatton, meanwhile, came into his own toward the end of the fourth, stealing the round in the process.
While Senchenko may have lost the fourth, he certainly won the fifth as the visiting pugilist took advantage of Hatton’s refusal to move his head by jabbing accurately. Hatton was also coming off second best when it came to the tactical battle and, by the bout’s midway point, Senchenko – who was bleeding from the cheek/eye – had found range and rhythm. That success was largely because the fast pace Hatton fought with at the start of the fight had depleted considerably, but not to the point where he was in danger. Hatton, 34, still felt he was a few punches away from closing the show and lunged with left hands.
Hatton, like Senchenko, was looking the part of a man in a fight. He was marked but not cut like Vyacheslav was. Senchenko, though, was having his say from a number of angles and regardless of whether the fight was boxed on the inside, or from distance. Senchenko came into his own as Hatton tired… perhaps a well constructed pre-fight gameplan. By the eighth round, Senchenko was boxing with authority and punishing Ricky with left hook/right straight combination punches.
While Hatton struck Senchenko with a couple notable shots in the ninth, Hatton’s comeback ended in distressing fashion as Senchenko powered a punch into Hatton’s body and The Hitman crumpled to his knees, unable to make the count, only rising to his feet one minute later, shedding tears in disappointment.
Ever popular, Hatton left the ring as he entered it. A hero in the minds of his fans who, despite defeat, continued to chant “There’s only one Ricky Hatton… one Ricky Hatton… walking along, singing along, walking in a Hatton wonderland”.
Following the official announcement of his defeat, Hatton told Primetime of his ‘heartbreak’: “I thought I was winning the fight, four rounds up. I caught him a couple of times. I put my body through hell [by] losing four and a half stone. I’m really heart-broken.
“I get my life back together but it’s just one shot. I’m heart-broken. He nailed me with a few early on. I think I was doing alright… he only lost his unbeaten record last time out but I’m just gutted. I wanted to fight for world titles and had to fight someone like that to get to world titles. I was enjoying it but I was finding it heavy weather. I’m a champion and I’m a fighter.”
Hatton, with severe purple bruising over his cheek, concluded by ambiguously commenting on his immediate future: “I’m going to have a proper think about things as that’s not the way my career should end.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
New WBO welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley, who outpointed former ruler Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9, has indicated his victory was vindicated by his ability to “control the action with [his] jab”. Bradley received a majority decision courtesy of two scores of 115-113 overturning a 113-115 but faced immediate fan backlash following the official announcement of his tight triumph.
“It was a good, competitive fight,” said Bradley (29-0-0, 12ko) to HBO, inside the ring, after the official announcement of his shock win. “Every round was pretty close,” he added as a chorus of jeers could still be heard from the pro-Pacquiao crowd in Nevada. “I controlled the action with my jab, I gotta go home, review the tape and see if I really won the fight or not. He’s a strong puncher, he rocked me a couple times but I withstood it.”
During the promotion for the match-up, Bradley attracted headlines when he posed for photographs with a mock poster that indicated a rematch was set for November 10. That publicity stunt turned out to be a prophecy as Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38ko) will no doubt be eager to avenge his defeat, something Bradley is also keen on: “On November 10 we can do a rematch.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Boxing has undergone many damaging decisions in recent years that stunk of either incompetency or worse… corruption. From Erislandy Lara’s loss to Paul Williams and Richard Abril’s recent defeat to Brandon Rios to the current; a June 9 duel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Timothy Bradley‘s points victory over Manny Pacquiao will only be official in the record books as the latter threw more shots, landed more often and bossed the contest.
Official verdict: Bradley via majority decision (115-113, 113-115, 115-113).
Transformations… both of a personal and physical nature, were cited to be potential problems for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38ko) going into the Bradley (29-0-0, 12ko) contest as his relationship with his God tightened and his age continued to increase. For the first two and a half minutes of the first round it appeared the criticisms of the Filipino were not unwarranted as Bradley boxed around Manny, forced the fight and could duck away from Pacquiao’s power punches. That was, until, the final 30 seconds when Pacquiao burst into action and threw three big left hands, all landing and all troubling Bradley.
It is with that late success that Manny returned to his stool with the ten score for the round and he took that confidence into the start of the second as Bradley continued to leak left hands to his face. While Bradley showed greater dimensions to his tactics – he found the body relatively easily as he tucked gloves below Pacquiao’s guard, he had good balance and showed a good boxing appreciation – it was Pacquiao who reaped success with pure power and was visibly able to knock Bradley back a step whenever he landed one of his huge lefts. That italicized word is one of the crucial factors that judges at ringside should have taken heed from when inking their scores. On that basis, the fight was Pacquiao’s.
In the second quarter of the fight, Pacquiao’s ability to land the left hand continued to either drive Bradley back, force him to tie-up or make him retreat. The American traded less and used ring movement more often, yet it was the Filipino who had the markings of a man in a fight as, at the end of the fifth, he was bleeding from the mouth.
In round six, Bradley appeared to establish an authority on the fight, but, like the opening stanza, Pacquiao rallied well in the final minute and wrested the higher score away from Timothy as he battered him into the ropes and just teed off, landing southpaw jabs, flurries and a right hook to the body. As the rounds progressed, the extra dimensions to Pacquiao’s game rose to the fore and each one proved too complex for Bradley to figure out – his defence just wasn’t built to cope.
A decline in Pacquiao’s activity occurred in round eight, yet Bradley did not offer much himself to capitalise on the lag in output to steal the round for himself. The slump in Pacquiao’s productiveness may have been fatigue… he was breathing out of his mouth and, even in round nine and he was boxing sluggishly.
In the championship rounds, Bradley was efficient, just not spectacular. He jabbed well, showed signs of counter-punching ability and boxed Pacquiao. The late bursts from Manny that won him the rounds earlier in the fight, though, had vanished and so there was more of a case to make that Bradley had turned it around – albeit far too late in the fight.
Pacquiao – who lost his WBO welterweight world championship to Bradley via a majority decision call – was the aggressor. He was the ring general. His power was the more damaging out of the two fighters. He was more accurate and he landed more often than Bradley… yet, when it came to the judges decision, there was undeniable controversy as it was the latter – the seemingly more inferior boxer – who left the ring with an outrageous majority decision victory.
Bradley had clearly been hit with the harder shots but the most damaging blow was dealt to boxing.
Words: Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Photos: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
With his weight-lifter’s physique, Timothy Bradley‘s body is one of the talking points from yesterday’s weigh-in in Las Vegas. The undefeated boxer who boasts a record of 28-0-0, 12ko takes on Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9 but looked far more ripped, cut, shredded and athletic than the Filipino warrior. Floyd Mayweather Jr may rival Bradley for abdominal muscle, or heavyweight prospect Mark de Mori for overall power mass, but who else – pound for pound – can lay claim to possessing the best body in boxing?
On The Beak – Admin
Amir Khan is looking forward to the ‘crazy’ Manny Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley fight that will be broadcast in the UK live on Primetime. Boxing superstar Amir Khan shared his thoughts with Primetime ahead of Saturday night’s super-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. The former unified light-welterweight champion knows both fighters well, check out what he has to say about the eagerly anticipated world title clash.
“I’m always going to back my training partner Manny Pacquiao in this fight because he’s been in with better competition and reigned for such a long time. I think Manny will win the fight but don’t get me wrong it’s going to be a tough fight. I don’t think Manny will knock him out I feel it’s going to go the distance because Bradley is tough. There’s no doubt Bradley will come to fight, seeing him train on HBO 24/7 he seems focused and confident and he’ll go in there wanting to win.
“Manny’s not performed at his best in his last few fights so that might be on Bradley’s side and he could use that to his advantage. No matter what, it’s going to be an electrifying fight and one of those tough and crazy fights that boxing fans want to see. I’m looking forward to it as we offered Bradley the fight twice and he turned it down so I’m hoping my teammate can beat him for me in a way.”
“It will be a tough fight and a toe-to-toe scrap at times. Both guys can fight, and they like to fight, they throw a lot of shots and have great fitness. It will be a match-up that people love to see and fans will be on the edge of their seats, it will be an exciting fight no matter what because you have two guys that are in their prime and are hungry for the win. Manny won’t want to lose his pound-for-pound title and Bradley wants to move up and make a statement.
“I don’t think Bradley will be the same fighter at 147 as he was at 140. He thinks he’s a better fighter at 147 which I don’t thinks the case because he doesn’t have the power to knock Manny Pacquiao out or any other fighter at that weight. But he will cause a problem in the fight because he has a great engine, work rate and likes to keep coming forward.”
On Manny’s training…
“Manny always trains hard, I was out in the Philippines with him when I was training for my rematch with Peterson. Manny is always dedicated when it comes to training and you can’t knock him for that because he’s always strong and tough and likes to push himself to the limit. He always spars hard and he’s looking in tremendous shape.
“People can say what they like about his last few fights, and he hasn’t really performed well, but I think that’s down to how his opponents have been. When he fights top opposition he always boxes better but when he faces guys that people expect him to beat he doesn’t really put on the ‘A’ game that he has.”
On sparring Manny…
“Manny is a tricky guy to beat. I’ve sparred with him and shared a ring with him, and he sometimes adapts quite late in a fight because the first few rounds he eases into it and sees what the opponent does and kind of breaks him down. Whereas Bradley is a bit wild and seeing him fight he goes in there with his head. Manny needs to watch his head because they are a similar size but Bradley’s game plan will be to put pressure on him, push him back and throw four or five shots at a time.
“Speed is going to be crucial, Bradley knows Manny is fast so Bradley’s going to try and use his speed against him but I think Manny has way more ability and eventually his class will shine through. What Manny has to be wary of though is Bradley’s head and the looping shots that don’t come from far away.”
“You always have that one opponent that knows your style inside out. I think Marquez has that style to beat or look really good against Manny Pacquiao that’s why the last fight was so awkward.”
On fighting the winner…
“I would love to fight Bradley at 147 if he somehow manages to come through. I don’t think he’s going to beat Manny, but it’s a fight that we put to him before when he was at light-welterweight and he turned it down twice. I wouldn’t face Manny because we are friends and share the same trainer and there are plenty of other big fights out there.”
Words: Alan Dawson – London
Photo: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Meticulous boxing trainer Freddie Roach, the chief cornerman for WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao, has appraised the Filipino’s June 9 opponent Timothy Bradley. Roach regards Bradley’s style to be incomplete and foresees ways through the challenger’s defence. He did, though, marvel at the Californian’s sculpted physique but opined that build alone will not see Bradley triumph as Pacquiao is said to emulate his prime form.
“We had a really great training camp… the first three weeks in Baguiao [were] very successful – and the last three weeks in Los Angeles [were] great. Manny’s focus is the best I have ever seen,” Roach said recently.
Roach is known for his studious approaches to camps and sets his fighters up (whether they are Pacquiao, Amir Khan or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr) to capitalise on the weaknesses the opponent possesses. Ahead of the MGM Grand Garden Arena brawl in Las Vegas later tonight, Saturday, Roach paid respect to Bradley’s athleticism but alerted Manny to the chinks in Desert Storm Tim’s armour in advance.
“We are going against a tough opponent, a tough undefeated opponent in Bradley,” Freddie, a five-time Futch-Condon award winner stated. “I have watched a lot of tapes on him, have seen a lot of holes in his defence and we are going to take advantage of them.”
Whilst Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko) lacks the star-name of Pacquiao’s most recent victims like Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto, there is intrigue over the stylistic match-up as the challenger is five years the junior of the champion, is undefeated, on a hot streak of form and, like Pacman, throws an abundance of punches. However, Bradley is orthodox while Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) is southpaw and so toe-treading and head-clashing could occur.
“Bradley does come in head first,” noted Roach. “We have been working on how to nullify that. We have a lefty fighting against a righty. The two heads may clash, that could happen and it’s something we have to be aware of and something we will be prepared for.”
Since tasting the canvas against heavy-hitting Kendall Holt, Bradley has seldom tasted the canvas and has collected a bounty of ten scores. In contrast, Pacquiao, in his most recent outing against Juan Manuel Marquez, was pushed to the wire and secured a disputed majority decision. Roach, though, believes Bradley will not achieve the same success Marquez enjoyed as he lacks fundamental counter-punching ability.
“I have been watching Bradley a lot and he doesn’t rely very much on counter-punching. He is very offensive. He comes to fight which will make it a good fight for everybody. He comes forward and is very aggressive, he will try to fight. He is a well-conditioned athlete. He will try to prove he is the better athlete – the better-conditioned athlete [but] Manny should have a very good fight.”
Bradley has stated that he has multiple game-plans, will assess Pacquiao early on and decide when to bang or if he should box. If the latter occurs, Roach has indicated that his premier prizefighter will be “prepared”. He said: “We have a mover in camp so we are prepared if Bradley decides to move around… we are prepared for anything he brings. We make adjustments to prepare Manny for whatever may come. He’s ready for a boxer and I’m covering all my bases.”
What has been common in Pacquiao’s welterweight campaign – whether he took on Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Margarito or Mosley – was that he was the smaller man, relinquishing the height and weight advantage to his opponent. Even against Marquez, Juan Manuel weighed in one pound lighter than Pacquiao but outweighed him – unofficially – in the ring. Pacquiao is accustomed to attacking – and trumping – bigger men than himself. And, though he is slightly taller than Bradley, he will again look like the smaller man due to Timothy’s weight-lifter’s body.
“Bradley is a good opponent. [We have not fought anyone like Bradley] because he is very strong and very muscular up top. I don’t think we have fought anybody that muscular.”
Roach intends on countering Tim’s build with “experience, speed and power.” He claimed: “Experience is hard to deal with, power will knock you out.”
In a concluding remark, Roach issued a caveat to Bradley: “[Manny] is a better fighter now; he is more focused. If a knockout comes it will be a bonus. Bradley is a great fighter and he’ll be resilient, but I think you’ll see the best Manny Pacquiao yet.”