Steve Bunce on Boxing: Manny Pacquiao may remain the main attraction but after a shock defeat in 2012 can afford no mercy this time in his rematch with Tim Bradley


On Friday night at the MGM in Las Vegas the tiny fighting darling of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, will enter the ring to fight Tim Bradley in a rematch of their strange first encounter. Both men have talked about a desperate need for redemption.

In the summer of 2012, Pacquiao claims he took pity on Bradley and let him survive several rounds longer than expected and actually allowed the unbeaten American to last until the final bell, in a fight that divided opinion on the night and still does.

The verdict was split in Bradley’s favour and the American, who had damaged both feet because he fought without socks, was still hobbling but somehow managed to stay upright to face the booing crowd at the end. Pacquiao was received like a fallen hero, but had himself been jeered a few months earlier when he was fortunate to receive a gift from the judges.

The loss for Pacquiao was his first in 16 fights, the first in seven years and it was also his 14th fight in Las Vegas; the disputed defeat also seemed to have put an end for ever to talk of a $100m showdown between Pacquiao and his great rival Floyd Mayweather, a fight that came close to fruition for the first time in 2008.

“He said he showed me compassion,” Bradley said. “He claimed he carried me through the fight and he could have won easily. He has also claimed he never trained. It all sounds like he is making excuses; he’s angry because I got the verdict.”

Bradley, who has never denied being hurt in the fight, is quick to use Pacquiao’s recent record as a sign that the once vicious fighter has lost his ability to finish men.

“There was a time when Pacquiao got you hurt and then knocked you out,” said Bradley. “He has not done that for a long time and I don’t think he can do it any more and that’s not good for boxing.” Pacquiao has not stopped a man in seven fights, the longest sequence in his 62-fight career, and last year against Brandon Rios in Macau he once again seemed to show compassion.

Freddie Roach, who has guided Pacquiao’s career through winning world titles at seven different weights, is dismissive of claims that Pacquiao has lost his desire to hurt people and get knockouts. “In the Bradley fight it was just too easy for Manny,” said Roach. “Manny was just going through the motions, there was no fear and no threat. This is different because now Manny is pissed off – he hates losing.”

After the Bradley defeat Pacquiao considered walking away from the business to concentrate on his political career but was persuaded to fight Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012. Pacquiao’s career looked over when he was dropped for the full count in round six.

Bradley was watching from the sidelines, thinking that his rematch and chance of getting a proper win over Pacquiao had vanished behind the six-inch punch Marquez landed. Boxing, however, is an odd business and Bradley stayed unbeaten when he saw off Marquez on points last October and Pacquiao arrived reinvented and refreshed in Macau late last year to bamboozle Rios.

So on Friday night Pacquiao is once again the main attraction and Bradley, the nice guy with the perfect record without a single loss in 32 fights, is happy to be in the shadows. “It’s just the business we are in. I’m the champion, but he’s the attraction – I don’t feel disrespected. It’s just the way it is,” said Bradley, whose WBO welterweight title is also available to the winner. It is a fight where the belt is not the real prize.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower