Thursday, April 26, 2018
Sports

Pacquiao stops Bradley, calls out Mayweather

LAS VEGAS — The old Manny Pacquiao returned for thrilling bursts, hounding Timothy Bradley onto the ropes and battering the welterweight champion with whip-quick combinations that recalled his magical prime.

The older Pacquiao couldn't finish the trick with a knockout, and he didn't stop or even really hurt Bradley during 12 mostly exciting rounds late Saturday night, but settled for a unanimous-decision victory to avenge his 2012 loss and claim the WBO welterweight title.

"I didn't want to get careless," said Pacquiao, 35.

Pacquiao (56-5-2) got his second straight win. His hands and footwork are still inimitable, but the eight-division world champion's power and timing weren't good enough to get his first knockout since late 2009.

Pacquiao showed up to his postfight news conference at the MGM Grand Garden with a large bandage concealing 32 stitches in a deep gash on his left eyebrow from a head-butt.

Trainer Freddie Roach said Pacquiao's days of highlight-reel knockouts have faded.

"I think he was doing his best to stop him," Roach said. "He was throwing combinations. I told him, 'All you have to do is outbox this guy. You can outbox him in and out, all night long.' It just didn't seem like he had the power he usually has."

Bradley (31-1) said he injured his right calf in the first round, but added that Pacquiao deserved the victory. He gave a mixed review of Pacquiao's skills.

"He still has the real sharp snap on his punches," Bradley said. "(But) I believe in the first fight, his punching power was way harder. I was able to take it."

Pacquiao's next bout likely will be a fifth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez, who fights Mike Alvarado on May 17. Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum still hope to fight Floyd Mayweather, with whom negotiations since 2009 have failed.

"How many years, days, months we're talking about that? The line is open 24 hours. If he's awake and he wants to fight, the fight will be," Pacquiao said.

"The only people that can make Floyd Mayweather fight Manny is the public," Arum said, urging a boycott Mayweather's bout against Marcos Maidana on May 3.

Mayweather's advisers did not return calls seeking comment.

Bradley likely has his choice of intriguing opponents — maybe Brandon Rios or a rematch with Ruslan Provodnikov.

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