Manny Pacquiao lands a left hand to the face of Timothy Bradley at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 9. Pacquiao won via a unanimous decision in the final fight of his career (for now). (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter
LAS VEGAS — If Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was Manny Pacquiao's final fight in his sterling boxing career, he surely went out with a bang.
With a crowd of 14,665, Pacquiao easily defeated Timothy Bradley of Palm Springs, California, who was knocked down in Rounds 7 and 9.
When the final bell rang, all three judges ruled a unanimous decision with identical scores declaring Pacquiao the winner, 116-110.
The 37-year-old representative from Sarangani Province didn't show any signs of "father time" (an expression to athletes who are getting up there in age and past their prime).
Instead, Pacquiao mirrored his past glory when he defeated future Hall of Fame fighters Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton in 2008; and Miguel Cotto the following year — dismantling them with a technical knockout, knockout and another TKO, respectively.
Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs)-Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) ends a trilogy which began on June 9, 2012.
In their first encounter, Bradley won a controversial victory by way of split decision.
Two of the judges scored it 115-113 to Bradley; and the other had it 115-113 to Pacquiao.
According to Compubox, Pacquiao was ahead in punches landed, power punches landed, percentage of punches landed, and percentage of power punches landed.
Ironically, their rematch on April 12, 2014 was closer than the first fight, according to many pundits. Pacquiao won a unanimous decision (118-110, 116-112, 116-112), ending Bradley's perfect win record.
On Saturday night, Pacquiao dropped Bradley in the seventh, appearing to be a push-down. But referee Tony Weeks called it a knockdown.
In Round 9, Pacquiao landed a huge left hand that dropped Bradley, who did a somersault.
"I was looking for a knockout in every round," said Pacquiao. "He's a very tough fighter and a very good counterpuncher."
Bradley, 32, said, "Manny was super smart. He knew where I was at all times. He's the best fighter I ever faced. He was always in the right spot; was very patient. I was trying to lure him in and use distance. But they [Manny and trainer Freddie Roach] had a good game plan."
"I just lost concentration. I'm not done. I got beat by a legend," Bradley concluded.
Hall of Fame trainer Roach is looking for another fight for Pacquiao despite the latter's declaration of his retirement.
"I love the way Manny threw his combos," Roach said. "He's a little rusty, but if he wants to continue fighting I think he can still go. Manny's left (hand) trumps all."
"My favorite fight is Terence Crawford," Roach continued.
The 28-year-old Crawford from Omaha, Nebraska is undefeated with 28 wins, 20 by way of knockout.
On the other side, a dejected looking Teddy Atlas, Bradley's trainer, didn't mince words saying, "I came up short."
Pacquiao addressed the post-fight press conference at the MGM's Grand Ballroom at approximately 9:59 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) sporting some minor cuts on his face.
When asked if Floyd Mayweather were to come back in the fold, Pacquiao said he can't answer that because he wants to enjoy the retired life and spend time with his family.
In regards to his newly-repaired shoulder, Pacquiao said he "felt fresh. I thank God because the healing was very fast, as well as the recovery."
"Boxing is a really hard sport. Very difficult. Right now, my decision is to retire," Pacquiao said.
Whether he retires, wins a Senate seat in the May 2016 Philippine elections, continues to be the face of the Philippines, Pacquiao's legacy is secure.
Perhaps another Pacquiao will emerge in the future. Perhaps not. Nevertheless, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao is a once-in-a-lifetime figure.
(L.P. Pelayo is the sports editor of the Filipino Reporter.)