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Timothy Bradley takes stunning split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao

LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao tried to turn his WBO welterweight title fight with Timothy Bradley into a brawl, but it was Bradley who won a split decision to end a remarkable run by the Filipino fighter.

Bradley won 115-113 on two scorecards, while losing by the same margin on the third late Saturday night. The decision was roundly booed by the crowd at the MGM Grand arena, and criticized by boxing analysts and fans on social media.

Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) never put Bradley (29-0) down, but hurt him in the early rounds and landed the harder and cleaner punches throughout the fight.

Bradley fought well in spurts and tried to take the fight to Pacquiao, and scored enough points with the judges to win the 147-pound title.

Bradley came in unbeaten and though considered one of the toughest challenges Pacquiao had faced of late, he was still a 5-1 underdog.

Before Saturday, Pacquiao, 33, had boxed 353 rounds, 45 more than Oscar De La Hoya and 27 fewer than Thomas Hearns, who fought into his 40s. Muhammad Ali, who retired at 39, had 61 fights.

"I see a slow slippage in his delivery," Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward had said before the fight. "The animal-like intensity is slightly less than it was."

Undercard: Randall Bailey (43-7), down on all three scorecards, knocked out Mike Jones with eight seconds left in the 11th to win the vacant IBF welterweight title. Jones (26-1) had been touted as an opponent for Pacquiao.

Bailey, who dropped Jones a round earlier with a right hand, put him down late in the 11th and referee Tony Weeks waved the fight to a close at 2:52 of the round as Jones struggled to get off the canvas.

Bailey, a 16-year veteran from Miami who briefly held a 140-pound title in 1999-2000, was trailing badly in a fight that drew boos for lack of action before he threw the right uppercut that ended the bout.

In another fight, two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0) retained his super batamweight title with win over Teon Kennedy (17-1-2). Rigondeaux, a Cuban defector now living in Miami, dropped Kennedy five times before the fight was stopped at 1:11 of the fifth round.

Timothy Bradley takes stunning split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao 06/09/12 [Last modified: Sunday, June 10, 2012 2:43am]
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