LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao won a unanimous decision in his rematch with Timothy Bradley on Saturday night, avenging his 2012 loss and claiming the WBO welterweight title.
Pacquiao (56-5-2) pursued and peppered the previously unbeaten Bradley around the MGM Grand Garden ring with an aggressive performance recalling the Pacman in his prime. Bradley fought back with counterpunching and elusiveness, but Pacquiao kept up his attack while Bradley (31-1) struggled down the stretch.
Pacquiao left little doubt about the result of the rematch in the same arena where they met nearly two years ago. Bradley’s split-decision victory astonished most ringside observers, who felt Pacquiao had earned a clear decision.
Judges Craig Metcalfe and Michael Pernick scored the rematch 116-112 for Pacquiao, while Glenn Trowbridge favored him 118-110.
“You won the fight, you deserved the win,” Bradley said. “I have no excuses.”
Pacquiao landed 35 percent of his 563 punches, while Bradley connected with just 22 percent of his 627 blow. Pacquiao’s jab was much more effective, landing 23 percent to Bradley’s 11 percent, and the Pacman landed power punches 148-109.
Pacquiao’s performance righted one of the biggest perceived wrongs in recent boxing history. Pacquiao was an eight-division world champion on 15-fight winning streak when Bradley was awarded a split decision in their last bout.
Pacquiao was more aggressive and accurate from the opening minutes of the rematch, sticking to trainer Freddie Roach’s pleas to take the action to Bradley.
Although Pacquiao couldn’t knock down Bradley, he consistently attacked all night.
Pacquiao landed a series of big left hands in the early rounds, knocking back Bradley with gusto. Bradley responded impressively in the fourth round, wobbling Pacquiao twice with a right hand.
The pace slowed in the fifth, with Bradley showing off his defense and movement while Pacquiao attempted to trap him against the ropes.
Pacquiao appeared to wobble Bradley late in the seventh round with a vicious combination, but Bradley stood with his back against the ropes and defiantly encouraged it, blocking most of the shots.
Bradley came on strong in the 12th, and the fighters’ heads collided late in the round. Pacquiao avoided any trouble until the final bell, when he did a short dance step to his corner.