The MGM Grand was the place to be in Las Vegas this Saturday night as Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley fought for the third time on HBO pay-per-view.
The broadcast kicked off with 140 lb action as WBC Continental Americas champion Jose Carlos Ramirez (16-0) faced the challenge of Manuel Perez (25-11-1). In the end the judges all had the fight for Ramirez, via scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 99-91. Ramirez successfully defends his Continental Americas title and runs his record to 17-0.
Check out highlights in The Boxing Channel Report “Pacquiao Returns Strong, Decisions Bradley in the Desert”.
The featherweight bout between Evgeny Gradovich (21-1-1) and Oscar Valdez (18-0) was one of the most anticipated fights of the card, and proved to be a zesty encounter. As expected, Gradovich was moving forward throwing a lot of punches, but Valdez sat back and landed his shots with more precision. Gradovich entered round 2 with a cut on his eye already, and Valdez had little trouble finding it. Gradovich never stopped coming forward, but Valdez's movement and punching power were on full display. In the fourth round, Valdez set up a smooth left hook that knocked Gradovich to the canvas. As he got up nearing the end of the count, the referee saw him on wobbly legs and stopped the fight.
The co-feature bout saw Germany's Arthur Abraham (44-4) defending his WBO super middleweight title against the undefeated Gilberto Ramirez (33-0).
Despite being a decorated champion, Abraham entered the fight an underdog and from the start Ramirez made things difficult for him. Abraham covered up and came forward while Ramirez showed a wide arsenal of punches and movement to bank the early rounds. It took until the sixth round before Abraham seemed to come alive and throw more punches. Still, the 36-year-old champion was not able to match the general energy level of the 24-year-old Ramirez. Abraham will go back to Germany regretting the fact that he never got started, and the judges scores reflect that. They gave every round for Ramirez, 120-108, as the young Mexican becomes the first ever world champion from that country in the 168 lb weight class.
The main event saw the two fighters arrive in the ring to wild cheers from the capacity crowd reported to be 14,665. Once all the preliminaries were out of the way the two got down to business, and the fight quickly became a chess match, with cautious back and forth exchanges and neither fighter seizing a noticeable advantage. By the midway point of the fight, the technical battle had settled into a routine and unfortunately for Bradley, he did not appear to be getting off anything effective while letting Pacquiao dictate the pace.
In round seven, Pacquiao caught Bradley and sent him to the canvas. In round nine, Pac-man caught Bradley again with a compact shot that sent Bradley down, rolling back onto his shoulders from the power of the punch. With Bradley hitting the canvas a second time, it was clear that it was Pacquiao's fight to lose.
Comfortably ahead on the cards, Pacquiao cruised for the last few rounds. Bradley's attempts at mounting an offense were shut down by Pacquiao's sharp movement and counter-punching. Pac-man was still fresh at the end of the fight, bouncing around with energy in his legs. Like the first two fights, the match went to the judges and in this case all three judges had the fight for Pacquiao by identical scores of 116-110.
Because of their status as the #1 and #2 ranked welterweights with the Transnational Boxing Ranking's Board, the victorious Pacquiao earns recognition as the lineal welterweight champion.
Pre-fight reports had Pacquiao assured a purse of at least $20 million, while Bradley's haul was at $4 million. The evening's complete fight results appear below.
Check out author David Avila's recap of the prelims at The Sweet Science.
Saturday, April 9th, 2016 – MGM Grand Arena
Las Vegas, Nevada
Welter 12 Rds: Manny Pacquiao over Timothy Bradley by UD (116-110,116-110,116-110).
Super Middle 12 Rds: Gilberto Ramirez over Arthur Abraham via UD (120-108 x3)
Featherweight 10 Rds: Oscar Valdez over Evgeny Gradovich via TKO in RD 4 @2:14.
140 LBS 10 Rds: Jose Carlos Ramirez over Manuel Perez via UD (97-93,98-92,99-91).
Welter 8 Rds: Egidijus Kavaliauskas over Denis Ilbay via UD (80-72,80-72,80-72).
LightHvy 10 Rds: Oleksandr Gvozdyk over Nadjib Mohammedi via TKO in RD 2 @2:06.
Welter 10 Rds: Konstantin Ponomarev over Brad Solomon via SD (98-92,96-94,94-96)
Super Middle 6 Rds: Leon Bauer over Ilshat Khusnulgatin via UD (59-55,59-55,60-54).
Lightweight 4 Rds: Devin Haney over Rafael Vazquez via UD (40-36,40-36,40-36).