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.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
What had been shaping up to be a classic brawl between two of boxing’s greatest rival nations – Puerto Rico and Mexico – ended in anti-climax as Jorge Arce and Jesus Rojas left the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9 with a no contest on their record. An electric opening session was countered swiftly in the next as, ten seconds into round two, an illegal move resulted in an Arce injury, something that Rojas refuses to believe…
Official verdict: No contest.
“I put him down in the first round and then with my experience I was dominating him,” said experienced and fan-friendly Arce (60-6-2, 46ko) to HBO.
The knockdown struck by Arce in the first stanza, though, led to a competitive scuffle and those at ringside collectively – and rightly – assumed a barnburner was about to erupt. However, ten seconds into round two, Arce was on the canvas and was granted a five minute respite as he was effectively dropped with a four punch combination with each shot as illegal as the last (a clash of heads, a low blow, a shot to the kidney and a left hook to the ear when his back was turned).
It was the punch to the ear that did the most damage as Arce explained: “He hit me and I heard booming sounds. I understand his anxiety made him act that way. He hit me behind the ear, I feel like I’m falling sideways but with the ice I’m feeling better. This fight can’t end this way, we’ll do this again. We’ll have a rematch.”
Rojas (18-1-1, 13ko) did not accept Arce’s side of the story and believes the Sinaloa slugger was looking for an escape route. The 25-year-old said: “It is unfortunate, I came here to fight… yes, he put me down but I wanted to fight. The referee didn’t intervene at any moment and I hit him in the face. I threw a punch and that was it. The referee never intervened. [Arce is] a coward, he didn’t come to fight.”
On his decision to stop the contest, renowned referee Kenny Bayliss stated that Arce “got hit with an unintentional low blow. I gave him the full five minutes, he complained about his ear, I called the doctor in and he said he could not continue.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Randall Bailey went from journeyman to champion on Saturday, June 9 as, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, he came from behind on the scorecards to score two stunning knockdowns at the expense of Mike Jones. Welterweight contender Jones had been boxing tentatively for the majority of the fight but accumulated the superior scores in most rounds, yet Bailey’s brutal power – when it was finally unleashed – changed the landscape of the contest.
Official verdict: Bailey by way of 11th round TKO.
“Nobody knows what it takes for me to prepare and do what I do,” a sobbing, yet triumphant, Bailey – with the IBF welterweight championship belt proudly tied around his waist – told HBO after his victory. He added: “Mike Jones is tough, take nothing away from him. I love my team. It’s [the power] my God’s gift, my mom’s a fighter, so this came naturally. [When the second knockdown happened I thought] stay down, Mike, please! He’s a big dude, man!”
Bailey’s Hollywood finish transpired after what had been bland viewing beforehand as Jones boxed with caution in the opening rounds, relinquishing the centre of the ring to opponent Bailey (43-7-0, 37ko) who was the clear aggressor at the start of combat. Known for his penchant of throwing punches in bunches, Jones’ output on fight night was in stark contrast to his reputation and this was not lost on the crowd who booed his approach within four minutes of boxing.
Jones was finally more active in round three, however, any positivity to his approach was offset by a clinch-and-grab method that followed any punches that landed. Such a tactic, against a boxer famed for his punch power, was perhaps evidence he was paying too much respect to his opponent’s best asset – the right hand. Both fighters, though, were responsible for what was a largely uninteresting fight as neither man was landing enough to do any damage (aside from a mark to Bailey’s eye).
In the middle rounds, Bailey’s one-dimensional boxing and the over-reliance on the right hand were two weaknesses that Jones failed to capitalise on as the undefeated Philadelphian showed a clear lack of aggression, neglected the jab but – crucially when it came to scoring – was doing just that little bit more than Bailey by landing a little more often.
Some excitement finally arrived in the ninth round when Jones attacked each side of the body in equal measure prior to planting one on the face, however, he did not follow up on that success, took a step back and ended up getting jabbed in the mouth by Bailey. A similar situation occurred in the tenth round as Jones again showed a five second period of pressure but couldn’t cope with Randall’s retaliation as Bailey canvassed him with a straight right.
It says much of both Bailey’s power and his limitations that his only meaningful contributions to 11 rounds of action were the two punches he landed in rounds ten and 11. In the penultimate round, he launched an uppercut underneath a Jones jab. It caught Jones off-guard, cracked his nose, turned his lights off and put him flat on his back with his eye-lids shut. For most fighters that would be goodnight, but Jones showed fair recovery as he opened his eyes and attempted to get to his fight on the count of four but his legs failed him completely and he was counted out.
“I’m a tough man, I’ll be back,” Jones (26-1-0, 19ko) said defiantly in defeat. “I got caught with a clean shot, he was the better man tonight… I’ll be back. I got careless in the later rounds, but I have no excuses. He won.”
Alan Dawson – London
Cuban southpaw Guillermo Rigondeaux produced masterfully outclassed Teon Kennedy on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena as the 31-year-old, in his tenth professional fight, scored five knockdowns and a technical knockout victory in a power punch perfect performance. In unorthodox fashion, Rigo abandoned the jab and instead relied upon the incredible variety of ways he could land his left fist.
Official verdict: Rigondeaux by way of fifth round TKO.
The variety of Rigondeaux’s fistic weaponry was on display within the opening 90 seconds and involved particularly devastating straight left punches that continually buckled the knees of Kennedy. This, combined with uppercuts, body blows and left hooks countered over the right hand were all thrown at an astonishingly fast pace and ultimately proved too much for Kennedy to handle in the opening session. The challenger for Guillermo’s WBA super bantamweight world title belt even touched down on the canvas with a glove following an unanswered bombardment of shots but composed himself in order to hear the bell that closed round one.
Despite his technical prowess and amateur background, Rigondeaux did not operate behind the jab and, when Kennedy took a step forward, he was oft depleted of energy and confidence due to a precise left uppercut. In the final minute of the second stanza, Rigo twice decked Kennedy… the first (and second of the night) was caused by a crisp right hand while the next knockdown arrived mere moments later as Teon had no clear answer for the unrelenting accuracy of Guillermo’s fists.
Kennedy sharpened up his defences in the third round and was alert to Rigondeaux’s left hand. A boxer blessed with fine balance and a spatial appreciation inside the ring, Rigondeaux’s defensive capability perplexed Kennedy and, in the fourth, the Cuban could be seen slipping and sliding out of harm’s way. With a clean left straight landing flush on the chin, Kennedy was felled again in the fourth but protested the decision of the referee – Russell Mora – to administer a count as he claimed he simultaneously received a step on his foot.
At the beginning of the fifth round, Rigondeaux scored his fifth knockdown – again with a chin-bound fist – and while Kennedy did not appear truly hurt, the beatdown had been so dominant that Mora waved the bout off and awarded a technical knockout Rigondeaux’s way. With the resounding victory, Rigo upped his record to 10-0-0, 8ko, made a successful first defence of his world championship at 122lbs and, considering the headlines and buzz his triumph will create, could move closer to a fight of significance with fellow world titlist Nonito Donaire.
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.”
Photos: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Reigning WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao and his challenger, three-time junior welterweight world titlist Timothy Bradley, arrived in Las Vegas on June 5 to much media hurrah and attracted a plethora of camera flashes at the final press conference yesterday, June 7. Filipino icon Pacquiao was his usual chipper self, while self-assured Bradley was all business during the face. The two headline the June 9 card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
An accomplished welterweight, Pacquiao’s body of work in the division is impressive as he has already accumulated victories over Miguel Cotto (12 Rd TKO), Joshua Clottey (12 Rd UD), Antonio Margarito (12 Rd UD), Shane Mosley (12 Rd UD) and Juan Manuel Marquez (12 Rd MD). All of his triumphs at 147lbs have been comprehensive aside from his most recent, to Mexican nemesis Marquez, as analysts regarded Juan Manuel to have bossed the contest for the majority of rounds. Against Bradley, though, Pacquiao is said to be eager to put in a performance that will remind fans of the skill-set he used to notch up a variety of titles in eight divisions.
Bradley, in contrast, has only once fought at welterweight in the past five years; against Luis Carlos Abregu. The American’s quality, though, shined at 140lbs as he demonstrated fine ring skills and a winner’s mentality. His most notable scalps include Devon Alexander (10Rd TD), Lamont Peterson (12 Rd UD) and Junior Witter (12 Rd SD).
Words: Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
With the collapse of two high-profile fights – Victor Ortiz versus Andre Berto II coupled with the Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan rematch – drug-testing continues to be one of boxing’s hot topics and, ahead of his duel with WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao on June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, undefeated Californian challenger Timothy Bradley has stated that clean fighters should have no issue with blood testing.
“Drug testing was never brought up during our negotiations,” said Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko), revealing the only testing both fighters have been subject to will be by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The 28-year-old, though, would have wanted more: “Is it something I would like? Sure, I wouldn’t mind.
“If you are clean, you shouldn’t have a problem taking the test. I’m not worried. Pacquiao is Pacquiao. I don’t know if Pacquiao ever used steroids or not, you know, bring it on. His last couple performances have not been that great.”
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) was once considered the undoubted pound-for-pound champion, however, an underwhelming performance over Shane Mosley (unanimous decision; May, 2011) followed by a narrow and inconclusive victory over long-time rival Juan Manuel Marquez (unanimous decision; November, 2011) have left question marks over the Filipino’s grip on that accolade.
“Personal problems can definitely affect a fighter in the ring,” said Bradley of the vices and troubles that were cited as distractions that led to a sub-par but still triumphant Pacquiao.
“Mentally you have to be dialed in and be focused. If not, it will take a toll on you in the ring. You need to be dialed in on what you need to do. If that’s the excuse he is using then I believe it. Marquez has that style that gives you fits and they have fought three times already and each was a very close fight. I think Marquez just knows how to fight him.”