Manny Pacquiao rounds off career with points win over Timothy Bradley
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 10/04/16 12:27pm
Manny Pacquiao scored an emphatic points win over American Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on Saturday night in what the Filipino said was the last fight of his 21-year professional career.
Fighting for the first time since his defeat to Floyd Mayweather last May, the eight-division world champion earned a unanimous decision after flooring Bradley on two occasions earlier in the contest.
All three of the ringside judges at the sell-out MGM Garden Arena had identical cards, scoring the contest 116-110 in favour of Pacquiao.
Pacquiao had insisted Saturday's bout - the 66th of his career - will be his final fight before he concentrates on his political career in the Philippines, where he is seeking election to the Senate next month.
Many ring-watchers however are sceptical, believing he may well be tempted to extend a career which has seen him earn more than $500m (£354m).
Asked afterwards if he planned to stay retired, Pacquiao replied: "I think so. I've made a commitment to my family that I'm going to retire after this.
"Maybe I enjoy being a retired man, serving the people, helping the people," he added, before giving a farewell message to his fans.
"Thank you to all the fans in boxing, especially the Filipino people. I've really appreciated all your help and support."
Pacquiao had promised an explosive performance and was as good as his word for long periods, uncorking some trademark combinations to overwhelm Bradley.
"Bradley is a good boxer, he's a champion, he's a man. It was not easy tonight," Pacquiao said, shortly before a warm embrace in the ring which concluded with the two fighters arranging to meet for breakfast on Sunday.
Bradley meanwhile paid tribute to his 37-year-old opponent.
"He's just very quick, very explosive. It's hard to really judge him, you know, he has quick reflexes," Bradley said.
"He used his experience against me, his ability and he won the fight tonight.I'm in there with a special man, Manny Pacquiao."
A cagey opening round had the feel of a tactical battle, with Bradley carefully keeping his distance as he circled the marginally more aggressive Pacquiao, who threw 33 punches to Bradley's 19.
The next three rounds followed a similar pattern, with Pacquiao looking the more menacing fighter, relentlessly stalking Bradley around the canvas, cutting off angles, and connecting with more meaningful blows.
Bradley landed occasionally but it was Pacquiao who did the most damage, landing a straight left that caught his American rival flush on the chin in the second round.
Bradley started confidently in the fifth round but again his good work was undone by Pacquiao in the final minute when the Filipino uncorked a series of combinations to score heavily.
Pacquiao produced a flurry of counter-punching to comfortably take round six before stretching his lead further in the seventh, scoring a knockdown with a right hook to the chin that sent Bradley falling to the canvas.
Bradley responded bravely in the eighth however, wobbling Pacquiao with a left hook and backing up the Filipino relentlessly.
Yet Pacquiao's response in the ninth was emphatic, luring in Bradley and then tagging him with a left hook to wobble the American.
A further left hook sent Bradley down for the second time leaving Pacquiao with a commanding lead heading into the final three rounds.
Bradley attempted to pressure Pacquiao but the Filipino finished the stronger to coast home.
Meanwhile, Gilberto Ramirez became the first Mexican fighter ever to hold a super middleweight world title after dominating champion Arthur Abraham to claim a unanimous points victory on the undercard.
Ramirez was awarded the win by emphatic margins of 120-108 on all three judges' cards to take the WBO title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The undefeated 24-year-old from Mazatlan used his superior reach and mobility to attack Abraham from all angles, scoring freely in the early rounds with a series of stinging jabs.
Ramirez rocked Abraham in the second with a thunderous right hook that sent the German careering off balance across the ring.
The skilful Mexican continued his dominance in the third round, tagging Abraham with another solid right hook, this time to the body.
Abraham rallied briefly towards the fourth round and the two fighters engaged in a frenzied exchange of blows as the bell sounded.
But Abraham struggled to build on that momentum and was again kept at bay by his more mobile opponent, who was content to duck in and out of range landing blows seemingly at will.
That strategy was more than enough to see Ramirez home to victory in the later rounds as Abraham wearily trailed the Mexican around the ring.