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Boxing | International

Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao © Gallo Images

Bradley defeats Pacquiao

Timothy Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao on a split decision to win the WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

The 28-year-old American underdog did the almost unthinkable by defeating the almost unbeatable Filipino.

Bradley won 115-113 on two cards and the other judge scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao, who lost for the first time since 2005.

The spectators at the MGM Grand witnessed the end of an era. They saw a Manny Pacquiao without the speed, the work rate, the meanness and the ability to dominate any opponent.

There were signs of it all, in little bursts, but the invincibility had disappeared halfway through the fight. He was losing to a boxer that no one will describe as great; at least not at this stage of his career.

Bradley started well, using his reach advantage to keep Pacquiao at a distance but it was the champion who landed the more telling blows during the middle rounds.

But the magic seemed to have gone as, once again, Pacquiao failed to produce the devastating form that had made him the best boxer, pound for pound, in the world.

The 33-year-old Filipinio congressman had been talking about retiring shortly, and Bradley pushed him closer to that decision with an outstanding performance.

Pacquiao had to deliver a convincing win to prove that he was still the best boxer in any division but he failed – and there was no reason to blame the judges.

He staggered Bradley with several hooks and uppercuts but the knockout his trainer, Freddie Roach, must have been hoping for, never came.

Bradley, who had won the WBO light-welterweight title by beating Britain's Junior Witter in England in 2008, was fighting at welterweight for only the second time.

He is still undefeated after 29 fights, having won 12 by knockout. Pacquiao’s record dropped to 54-4-2, with 38 stoppage wins.


SAPA-AFP reports that promoter Bob Arum called the decision "unfathomable" and "incomprehensible".

"I want to congratulate Tim Bradley; he's going to make a lot of money," Arum said. "But I want to say I have never been ashamed as much to be associated with the sport of boxing as I am tonight."

Pacquiao's wife, Jinkee, and sons Manny and Michael, watching their father fight in Las Vegas for the first time, looked stunned.

However, Pacquiao wasn't prepared to criticise the judging.

"It's part of the game," said the fighter, who earned a controversial majority decision of his own over Juan Manuel Marquez in November to keep his winning streak intact.

Arum said this decision was more of a shocker than Pacquiao's narrow win over Marquez.

"It was close, everybody said it was close," Arum said of the bout between Pacquiao and Marquez. "This wasn't really a close fight."


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