Sport360° view: Pacquiao has plenty to offer in twilight of fine career

Andy Lewis 14:03 14/04/2014
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Still got it: Pacquiao sends Bradley towards the canvass as he avenged his 2012 loss to the American.

Manny Pacquiao’s mother may have been intent on playing her part by offering up some sort of voodoo hex, but her son hardly needed the help of witchcraft to see off Tim Bradley.

The Filipino legend is once again a world champion after easily out-pointing the American in Las Vegas, evening the score for a preposterous decision loss in June 2012.

Anyone with full control of their faculties could see Pacman won the first fight by around eight rounds to four, a similar margin of victory to what he achieved on Saturday night.

The action played out rather differently inside the ring, but the outcome was largely the same.

Yet still Pacquiao seems beset by negativity, with a strangely lukewarm response to what should be regarded as a magnificent achievement.

Not vintage Pacquiao, not the Manny of old; well that second criticism hasn’t really existed as a debate for some time.

Of course, at 35-years-old, and after 63 fights, it is not the same Pacman who tore through a generation of Mexican all-time greats, annihilated Ricky Hatton and pulverised Miguel Cotto into a late stoppage.

His punches don’t have the same devastating snap to them, his head movement is not quite as beguiling and his blurry hand-speed slightly jaded.

The idea that it might not have done so after a 19-year professional career is, frankly, absurd.

Sportsmen age, boxers age, especially a ring-weathered general like Pacquiao, who owns arguably the most impressive – and punishing – resume of any active boxer today.

Yet even after all the wars, Pacquiao was still able to comprehensively defeat Bradley, a man five years his junior with a 31-0 record and a well-earned spot in the overall pound-for-pound reckoning.

When Pacman was winning his first professional fight, Bradley was a 12-year-old seventh grade student.

The Filipino congressman won his first lineal world title at flyweight – 35lbs lighter than Saturday’s welterweight duel – 16 years ago.

Bradley was in the 10th grade.

Pacquiao is a phenomenon and his ability to still perform at the level he did in Las Vegas is inspiring.

The knockouts may have dried up but the way he boxed his way to wins over Brandon Rios and now Bradley shows he still has much to offer.

Pacquiao says he has two more years left and it seems inevitable he’ll fight Juan Manuel Marquez again if his Mexican nemesis, as expected, overcomes Mike Alvarado next month.

Having avenged his defeat to Bradley, it is understandable that redressing his only other recent defeat is on his mind.

He may lead their rivalry 2-1, with one drawn, but Marquez is on Manny’s mind.

The politics at the top of boxing mean fights against his Top Rank stable rivals are his most viable options.

It may be something we have all seen before but another fight between Pacman and Marquez, or a decider against Bradley, would still give people their money’s worth.

And with Pacquiao, it is a case of enjoying him while we can because the sport, which he has done more to carry than anyone since the turn of the century, will be poorer without him.

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