Beaten Bradley has 'no excuses'
Timothy Bradley injured a calf muscle but said he had no excuses for losing to Manny Pacquiao on Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The American, who lost his WBO welterweight belt to the Filipino, applauded the decision when it was announced, and he congratulated Pacquiao in the ring.
Judges Craig Metcalfe and Michael Pernick scored the bout 116-112 for Pacquiao and Glenn Trowbridge had it 118-110.
Pacquiao landed 35 per cent of his 563 punches. Bradley connected with just 22 per cent of his 627.
"You won the fight, you deserved the win," Bradley said. "I have no excuses."
"I tried, I really tried," Bradley said. "I wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world. I lost to one of the greatest fighters in boxing.
"I kept trying to throw something over the top. That's what we worked on in camp. That was the plan, but Pacquiao has great footwork."
Pacquiao pursued and peppered the previously unbeaten Bradley around the MGM Grand Garden ring with an aggressive performance.
Bradley fought back with counterpunching and elusiveness, but Pacquiao kept up his attack while Bradley struggled in the closing rounds.
Pacquiao left little doubt about the result of the rematch in the same arena where they met nearly two years ago. Bradley's split-decision victory astonished most ringside observers, who felt Pacquiao had earned a clear decision.
Pacquiao's jab was much more effective. He landed 23 per cent to Bradley's 11 per cent. The new champion also had a slight edge in landing 148 power punches to Bradley's 109.
Pacquiao was an eight-division world champion on 15-fight winning streak when Bradley was awarded a split decision in their last bout.
Pacquiao was more aggressive and accurate from the opening minutes of the rematch, sticking to trainer Freddie Roach's pleas to take the action to Bradley.
They exchanged blows in the opening rounds, but Pacquiao appeared to wear out Bradley with the heavy early pace and slowed down.
Pacquiao landed a series of big left hands in the early rounds, knocking back Bradley with gusto. Bradley responded impressively in the fourth round, wobbling Pacquiao twice with a right hand.
The pace slowed in the fifth, with Bradley showing off his defence and movement while Pacquiao attempted to trap him against the ropes.
Pacquiao appeared to wobble Bradley late in the seventh round with a vicious combination, but Bradley stood with his back against the ropes and defiantly encouraged it, blocking most of the shots.
Bradley appeared to pretend to have wobbly legs at one point after a Pacquiao miss, but his open mouth betrayed his weariness while Pacquiao steadily racked up rounds midway through the fight.
The American came on strong in the twelfth. Pacquiao was cut in a clash of heads but he avoided any trouble until the final bell, when he did a short dance step to his corner.
JUST TOO TOUGH
Sapa-AFP reports that Bradley finished the fight with bruising around his right eye from repeated blows, but Pacquiao said the American was just too tough to go down. "Many times I hit him hard, but he's still there," Pacquiao said.
The new champion’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was surprised to see Bradley in search of one big knockout blow. "He was swinging for the fences all night," Roach said of Bradley, who said he thought it was the only way he could win the fight.
But the American appeared in the later rounds to have punched himself out. His trainer, Joel Diaz, said he knew their plan had gone out the window when Bradley came to the corner after the first round saying he thought he had torn his right calf muscle.
The injury was later diagnosed as a strain.