Timothy Bradley won the WBO welterweight title tonight in controversial fashion, but his victory isn't completely without merit.
He fought a sound fight, and he had his fair share of notable moments. Granted, Pacquiao's performance was more obvious and, at times, devastating. But Bradley controlled portions of this fight as well.
Let's find out where Bradley scored well in this one.
The Early Rounds
Bradley came out with a strong jab in Round 1, but Pacman's powerful presence quickly took over.
Pacquiao weathered an early storm, and imposed his will on Bradley throughout the fight's early segments. But Bradley didn't go away. He didn't knock Pacquiao out, but he played well enough, against one of the world's best, to stay in the fight.
At times Bradley looked scared. He was on his heels as he desperately tried to avoid Pacquiao's heavy left hand. But didn't we expect that from a young, largely unproven fighter?
The early rounds of this fight had Pacman knockout written throughout parts of it, but Bradley also had his bright spots.
He landed combinations here and there, played sound defense and didn't allow his mind to drift out of focus.
The Middle Rounds
Initially, the middle rounds of tonight's fight show Bradley fading away. He seems to lose any semblance of grip in Round 5 and doesn't show much promise until Round 8 rolls around.
Once the bell rang, and Round 8 began, Bradley turned a page.
He changed what was a slugfest for five rounds, and he made it a fight based on technique and precision. Pacman's frenetic pace benefits much more from a wide-open, toe-to-toe brawl especially against a right-handed fighter.
Forcing Pacquiao to box, rather than purely punch, swung this fight slightly in Bradley's favor. It neutralized his disadvantage in the power department and allowed him to fight in his comfort zone.
Bradley started to show life in the latter half of the middle rounds. He regained the bounce in his step and the smile on his face.
The Final Rounds
Bradley's progress in Round 8 was not hindered, by much, in tonight's concluding rounds. Pacman was still the more talented fighter, but Bradley was proving to be a stiff challenge.
Pacquiao landed more punches throughout the fight's first eight rounds, and that wasn't going to change. He is a high-volume attacker, and he knew that was his best chance of countering Bradley's defensive style.
Rather than run from that counter strategy, Bradley did the best he could with it. He used Pacman's aggression and turned it into swift, countering flurries. He established himself as a quality boxer against one of the sport's all-time greats.
Saying that Bradley, undoubtedly, deserved this victory would be foolish. Pacquiao landed more power punches and his punching percentage was higher.
But Bradley's performance shouldn't be dismissed outright.
He entered this match as a quality fighter and emerged as one of boxing's hottest names.
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