|WORLD BOXING ICON Manny Pacquiao in a file photo at the Wild Card Gym as Philippines Today Editor in Chief Alfred Gabot (left) and tourism attache Manny Ilagan look on. (Photo by Nick Sagmit)
By EDDIE G. ALINEA and ALFRED GABOT
Special to Philippines Today USA
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA). — It’s Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision over American world champion Timothy Bradley Jr.!
While the fighting congressman from the Philippines failed to knock out Bradley as predicted by Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao knocked down the American twice in their 12-round card, prompting many who watched the fight to say that Pacquiao has still the fire for more fights in the future.
Pacquiao, however, said that he has decided to retire so he can devote his time to legislative work and in helping people in case he wins a seat in the Philippine Senate.
Pacquiao immediately was congratulated by Philippine leaders headed by President Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for his victory.
Malacañang said it was a remarkable feat of Pacquiao to cap his legendary career.
“Manny Pacquiao has done the Filipino nation proud again by winning decisively against Timothy Bradley,” said Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr..
Coloma said they also applaud and thank Pacquiao “for demonstrating anew that the Filipino has the courage and skill to compete in the global arena.”
“I am congratulating Manny Pacquiao for his emphatic win over Timothy Bradley. He made the Filipinos proud once more,” Duterte said in a statement.
Duterte also hoped that Manny, after the fight will find time to concentrate on his political career.
“He has nothing to prove anymore. He is a true champion in the hearts of the Filipino people,” Duterte said.
Pacquiao, the only man to capture world titles in eight different weight divisions, produced flashes of brilliance and knocked down Bradley twice on his way to a unanimous decision in the welterweight duel.
It was the sort of performance his admirers believe could persuade him to prolong a career that has earned him more than $500 million over 21 years. He earned $20 million in the third fight with Bradley and over $100 million in the fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pacquiao said he had promised his family he would retire.
“Let me enjoy first a retired life,” he said. “I’m not there yet, so I don’t know what it feels like. But I made a commitment to my family. I made my decision.”
Pacquiao dominated Bradley in a 116-110, 116-110, 116-110 unanimous decision win on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 37-year-old Pacquiao knocked down his younger foe twice on the way to the big win, which also earned him the WBO International welterweight belt.
It also capped the trilogy between the two fighters, with Pacquiao coming out on top in the last two meetings between them. The Filipino is now 58-6-2 for his boxing career.
A day before the fight, the 56-year-old Roach, also seven-time “Trainer of the Year” honoree of the Boxing Writers Association of American, not only reaffirmed his earlier projection of a knockout by Paquiao, but picked the round, too, where he thinks his prized student will send the boy from Palm Springs in California to dreamland.
Roach, former fighter himself, projected the fight not to last eight rounds.”Yeah, Manny will knock this guy out between the sixth and eighth rounds,” Roach predicted with a wide grin.
“We’ve just completed one of the most fruitful, if not the most successful camp and I believe that Manny has regained what it takes to stop an opponent, whoever he is.”
Roach assured, too, that his ward of a decade and-a-half has found his killer instinct that floored for good 38 of 65 fighters that crossed his path. “Manny himself told me that and because he, too, said this will be his last fight, there’s no way for me not to believe him.”
Assistant trainer and the Sarangani Congressman’s bosom friend since childhood, Buboy Fernandez , echoed the chiefs trainer’s belief.
“We, coach Freddie’s assistants in the training staff were there when we first pitched camp in GenSan (General Santos City) even when he (Roach) was not yet there, and we saw Manny’s evolution to where he is now,” Buboy recalled in reference to fellow assistant trainer Nonoy Neri and his brother Roger “Haplas” Feernandez.
“Sa body english nya habang nag-e-ensayo at sa pagsunod nya sa lahat ng instruksyon sa kanya, nakita namin ang determinasyon nya at dedikasyon,” he attested. “Mga bata pa lang kami magkakaibigan na kami, di ba? Kaya kilos pa lang alam na namin ang ibig sabihin ng isa’t-isa.”
Neri and Haplas agreed. “Ibang-iba talaga ang ikinilos ni Manny sa enssayo ngayon kaysa noong mga nakaraang laban kaya naniniwala kami na may palalagyan si Bradley sa labang ito,” the duo chorused.
“Yeah, I stick to my consistent stand tht Manny will knockout Bradley from six to nine rounds” Congolese-Canadian sparmate Ghislain Maduma said. “Been sparring with Manny for the past four to five weeks and I noticed him to be getting stronger and faster each day,” he said.
Lydell Rhodes, the Pacman’s other dancing partner, sounded not so bold in his prediction although he, too, believe Pacquiao will prevail via stoppage.
Strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune didn’t venture a prediction, simply saying he didn’t want to because every time he did in the past it was the opposite that happened. (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA)
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA). — It looks like Manny Pacquiao won the opening round of the final chapter of his trilogy with American Timothy Bradley, which is still four days away on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
If the reception given to the protagonists on Tuesday’s Grand Arrival ceremony will be used as gauge, that is.
The 37-year-old fighting Sarangani Congressman definitely outshone the pretender from Palm Springs in California as far as the number of fans and the warm welcome accorded to both were concerned.
While the reception given to the 32-year-old Bradley, known a the “Desert Storm” was relatively tame, the one accorded to the eight division champion was so warm, it came short of chaotic.
In fact, it took Pacquiao short of 30 minutes before he and a battalion of followers could enter the MGM Grand lobby because of hundreds of fans who waited as early 10 a.m. just to meet him and took a glimpse of their idol.
Pandemonium nearly broke loose as he and his yellow-shirted supporters entered the lobby which, like outside the hotel was filled with people.
Pacquiao circled the ring waving to the fans, who were shouting and cheering “Manny … Manny … Manny … as if to show to all and sundry that the Filipino icon’s popularity has hardly diminished despite the many distractions
thrown his way as the same-sex marriage issue, election protest, the foiled attempt to stop his senate candidacy and a futile try to stop the showing of the Pacquiao-Bradley 3 fight on local media.
Both fighters invited their fans to watch the Saturday encounter and promised to give them a great boxing day at the MGM Grand Arena.
“It will be as great day on Saturday because Bradley and myself will be giving all of you a good fight,” Pacquiao said.
Bradley, for his part, assured fans the best fight of their three meetings.”Saturday will be a fantastic event,” Bradley assured. “Both Pacquiao and me will be doing what we are supposed to do.” (Eddie G. Alinea/PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA)