Manny Pacquiao heads to his corner between rounds of his title fight against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Steve Marcus. Reuters
New WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao commended American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. for a battle well fought after their rematch Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
What was expected to be a close battle turned into a Pacquiao showcase in the second half of the bout, as the Filipino boxer seized control of their welterweight fight to eventually win a wide decision.
Pacquiao complimented Bradley after the fight, saying the American had improved greatly since they first fought in June 2012.
“The Bradley that I fought (two years ago) is different. He has improved a lot. He showed his toughness,” said Pacquiao in the post-fight press conference. “We saw that in his last two fights, with (Juan Manuel) Marquez and Ruslan (Provodnikov).”
Pacquiao made it clear that he wanted very badly to knock Bradley out, but acknowledged that the American made it very tough for him to do so.
“I tried to finish him a couple of times. (I threw) a lot of punches, I threw a lot of punches to him, but he managed it. We cannot underestimate Bradley, because yeah, he’s very, very tough,” said Pacquiao.
Pacquiao said he appreciated Bradley’s willingness to go toe-to-toe with him, especially in the early rounds, as it made the fight more action-packed.
“Like what I said, Tim Bradley has improved a lot,” said Pacquiao. “He’s a tough fighter, so give credit not only to me, but also to him, because we gave a good fight tonight.”
The loss was the first of Bradley’s professional career.