Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Saturday, April 12, 2014, Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) defeated Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) in the highly-anticipated rematch of their 2012 matchup at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout was the main event of a pay-per-view event presented by Top Rank Promotions and HBO Boxing.
The fight began with both fighters calmly boxing and finding their ranges. The first round was close, with Bradley doing enough to win with his boxing abilities.
Pacquiao, however, came back to win rounds two and three as he seriously wobbled Bradley in the second. Bradley’s response was to begin searching for the knockout he so desperately felt he needed.
Bradley began walking down Pacquiao, but was only effective until the fourth round, wobbling Pacquaio with a straight right hand.
By the fifth round, it seemed as if Bradley’s early onslaught—which wasn’t effective to begin with—might have tired Bradley out. Bradley gasped for breath after landing lazily-thrown jabs and had an expression of exhaustion.
By the sixth round, Bradley’s corner was desperately trying to revive him; giving him Gatorade and try to get to him continue fighting as he had done earlier.
Pacquiao dominated confidently from thereon and into the final round, landing more and outworking a hurt and exhausted Bradley.
In the post-fight interview, Bradley claimed to have hurt his right foot. It sounds as a terrible excuse–it would be the second time in a row for Bradley–but it does explain why Bradley looked as if his legs were gone in the later rounds.
The judges scored the bout 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110. Pacquiao is now the WBO Welterweight champion.
Top Rank has planned for a possible matchup between Pacquiao and the winner of the Welterweight bout between Mike Alvarado and Juan Manuel Marquez.
However, despite its viability, how many people will want Pacquiao to once again fight Marquez? If Alvarado is successful, can it be a marketable fight?
Pacquiao is once again a world champion and places himself just below Floyd Mayweather in the Welterweight rankings.
In the co-main event, Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KOs) defeated Arash Usamanee in a twelve-round Lightweight bout.
Usamanee had previously fought at Super Feathweight and it seems as if that division is better suited for him as he was unable to bother Betlran with his punches.
This clear difference in size allowed Beltran to push forward for the entire fight without head movement, often taking jabs to land his offense.
Usamanee was able to find his right hand in the twelfth round and landed it with everything he had.
However, it only seemed to illustrate the problem he had throughout the entire fight: he had a huge power and size disadvantage. Usamanee had the skills, but not the power to bother Beltran.
The judges scored the bout 117-111 , 117-111, 118-110 and Beltran is now the proud owner of a NABO Lightweight title.
Terence Crawford, Ricky Burns, and Miguel Vasquez could all be in Betlran’s future as his NABO title pushes him into world title contention.
Jessie Vargas (24-0, 9 KOs) won a controversial unanimous decision over Khabib Allakhverdiev (20-1-1, 10 KOs) in a twelve-round Light Welterweight bout.
Allakhverdiev pushed the action for the entire fight and was not very successful in landing his offense early. Vargas often ducked and slipped punches while against the ropes and countered immediately.
However, Vargas’s lack of an effective and consistent jab cost him many of the later rounds as Allakhverdiev was able to make the fight closer. Allakhverdiev landed his punches much easier, and although suffering a cut via a head-butt in the eighth round, continued to push the action until the twelfth round.
The judges scored the bout 115-113, 115-113, 117-111. A score of 111-113 may do justice to the closeness of the fight, but a 117-111 is a terrible score.
On a night that was partly caused by poor judging on the scorecards, it was an ominous sign of what many hoped would not–and thankfully did not–happen.
Vargas is now the IBO and WBA Light Welterweight champion. In a division that is partly conquered by Ruslan Provodnikov, Jessie Vargas’ defense is something to be worried about if he can land a fight with him.
Nevertheless, Vargas’s future looks bright has he is now one of the major players in a division that also includes Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse.
Bryan Vasquez (32-1, 17 KOs) defeated Jose Felix Jr. (26-1-1, 21 KOs) in a twelve-round Super Featherweight bout.
Vasquez began the fight by pushing the action, backing Felix with a shoulder roll stance, but taking the occasional counterpunch.
In the first few rounds, Felix placed himself against the ropes and looked for possible counters. Felix landed counter punches, but not as many as the ones he threw as Vasquez deflected most of his punches with his shoulders.
By the later rounds, as the bump over his right eye demonstrated, Felix was letting the fight slip away. He did not have the power or the skill to dissuade Vasquez from his consistent pressure.
Vasquez looked comfortable, cutting the ring easily and landing solid shots to the body and head of a frustrated Felix.
Vasquez cruised with ease until the twelfth and final round, with the judges scoring the bout 117-110, 114-113, 114-113.
Vasquez is now the interim WBA Super Featherweight champion and is now a major player in a division that includes the likes of Mikey Garcia