Manny Pacquiao won a 12-round unanimous decision over Timothy Bradley on Saturday to avenge his controversial 2012 loss to the previously unbeaten American.
The Filipino ring icon improved to 56-5 with two drawn and 38 wins inside the distance as he regained the World Boxing Organization welterweight world title he lost to Bradley on June 9, 2012.
Although he couldn’t get his first knockout win since 2009, Pacquiao lived up to his pre-fight promise to come out with more aggression, denying Bradley’s avowed aim of sending him into retirement with another defeat.
Pacquiao did enough to win the fight handily on all three judges’ scorecards – 116-112 twice and 118-110 on the third.
Bradley, who said he fought from the first round with a right calf injury, fell to 31-1, with 12 knockouts.
“Life goes on,” Bradley said of his first pro defeat. “It’s back to the gym. Not a big deal.”
After a tight first round, Pacquiao made his power felt in the second.
The third saw both fighters exchange at a furious rate, Pacquiao again landing the more damaging blows.
But Bradley shook Pacquiao in the fourth, and Pacquiao said California’s “Desert Storm” was an improved fighter from the one who took a bitterly debated split decision in their first fight.
Although the pace slowed in the later rounds, Pacquiao put together multi-punch combinations in the seventh and out-worked Bradley in the remaining rounds.
After throwing few punches in the 11th, a desperate Bradley swung wildly in the 12th, and Pacquiao finished the fight with a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads late in the final round.