Manny Pacquiao retires after beating Timothy Bradley by unanimous decision

Combat columnist
Yahoo Sports

LAS VEGAS – If this was the finale of Manny Pacquiao's legendary career, he went out on top, if not in style.

The Filipino superstar has had better days in the ring during a career that saw him win world titles in eight weight classes and virtually guarantee himself a spot in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

It's fair to say, though, that the action was lacking at many points during his fight with Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden before 14,665 largely Pacquiao partisans.

Buoyed by two knockdowns in what could be his final fight, Pacquiao won a unanimous decision over Bradley in a fight that was dull for long stretches.

Timothy Bradley, left, trades with Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight title bout. (AP)
Timothy Bradley, left, trades with Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight title bout. (AP)

All three judges had it 116-110 for Pacquiao.

When it ended, Pacquiao said he would retire, though left the door open for a return.

"As of now, I am retired," Pacquiao said. "I'm going to go home and think about it. I want to be with my family. I want to serve the people."

Pacquiao dropped Bradley in the seventh and ninth rounds of a fight in which neither man was able to sustain much offense against each other. The knockdown in the seventh appeared to be more of a slip, though a punch did land. But in the middle of a flurry in the ninth, Pacquiao landed a blistering left that sent Bradley somersaulting backward toward the ropes.

"Manny's left trumps all," Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said.

The victory gave Pacquiao the rubber match of his series against Bradley, as he won the last two bouts after losing a hotly disputed decision in 2012.

Few other than the two judges who scored it for Bradley in 2012 thought he deserved the win. Most neutral observers felt Pacquiao won 16 to 18 of the first 24 rounds over the two fights.

Bradley hired Teddy Atlas last year to try to turn his career around after he had struggled in several fights, but it didn't seem to make a noticeable difference in this fight.

"I don't think the first knockdown was a real knockdown, but Pacquiao did a great job in there," Atlas said. "Give Pacquiao credit. I didn't do a good enough job for Bradley." The bout was familiar, much the same as the first two without any sustained flurries or clean punches landed.

Timothy Bradley falls to the mat after getting hit by Manny Pacquiao. (AP)
Timothy Bradley falls to the mat after getting hit by Manny Pacquiao. (AP)

Pacquiao landed 122 of 439 punches according to CompuBox, an average of just 10 punches a round. Bradley connected on 99 of 302, landing at a higher percentage but throwing and connecting on far fewer.

Pacquiao said his right shoulder, which he injured in the fourth round of his 2015 fight with Floyd Mayweather, didn't bother him.

But Pacquiao didn't look nearly the same fighter as he did in his prime. He had stretches where he was fast and powerful, but he didn't command the ring the way he normally did and was far more economical with his shots.

Bradley said Pacquiao's pop was significant, however.

"Manny was very strong in there," Bradley said. "He was strong the entire fight. He was always very patient. I wasn't professional enough to stay within myself and I walked into shots."

Pacquiao showed his trademark power in the ninth, and seemed to buzz Bradley a couple of other times.

But he became one of the world's most popular fighters but not only throwing and landing more punches, but by being a brutal finisher.

He looked like a good, though hardly great, 37-year-old fighter on Saturday. But he said his killer instinct was there.

"I was looking for a knockout in every round," Pacquiao said. "He's a very tough fighter and a very good counter puncher. Teddy Atlas made a difference because this was the best Timothy Bradley I faced in three fights."

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