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Pacquiao unanimously outpoints Bradley

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Manny Pacquiao may not be ready for retirement just quite yet.

Pacquiao returned from the biggest loss of his career with a bang Saturday night, knocking down Timothy Bradley twice on his way to a unanimous 12-round decision in their welterweight showdown.

Pacquiao shook off the ring rust from a layoff of nearly a year after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. to beat Bradley for a second time in the rubber match between the two fighters. In doing so, the Senate candidate in his native Philippines showed he may have to reconsider his plans to retire and devote his full time to politics.

Pacquiao (58-6-2) knocked down Bradley (33-2-1) in the seventh round, though Bradley seemed to have slipped. He left no doubt in the ninth with a big left hand that sent Bradley sprawling.

The fight was scored 116-110 by all three ringside judges. The Associated Press had it 117-110.

In the final seconds, many in the crowd of 14,665 at the MGM Grand arena were on their feet chanting “Manny! Manny!” as Pacquiao tried to end the bout with a flourish. He never came close to finishing off Bradley, though he was so far ahead on the ringside scorecards that it didn’t matter.

If the fight was indeed the end of the 37-year-old Pacquiao’s career, it was a remarkable one. Aside from the loss to Mayweather last year he did little wrong in winning eight weight class titles in 21 years as a pro.

“As of now I am retired,” Pacquiao said. “I am going to go home and think about it but I want to be with my family. I want to serve the people.”

Pacquiao had no problems with the right shoulder he injured against Mayweather as he stalked Bradley across the ring, looking to land big shots. He landed enough of them to make Bradley wary, and the knockdown in the ninth round seemed to take the rest of the fight out of Bradley.

“Manny was strong the entire fight and he was also very patient,” Bradley said. “I wasn’t professional enough to stay patient myself and I walked into shots.”

Both fighters took some time to get untracked, with the early rounds offering little action. Pacquiao seemed a bit rusty from his layoff and Bradley was unwilling to get inside and trade punches.

Pacquiao began picking up the pace and stalking Bradley, though, coming in behind a right jab and following it with his left hand. In the seventh round, he seemed to graze Bradley with a pair of punches and Bradley went to his knees for what referee Tony Weeks ruled a knockdown.

“He was very quick, very explosive,” Bradley said.

Ringside punching stats showed Pacquiao landing 122 of 439 punches to 99 of 302 for Bradley.

Pacquiao said before the fight that he felt refreshed after his layoff and stronger than ever. He hadn’t scored a knockout at 147 pounds since stopping Miguel Cotto in 2009, and went after Bradley with big left hands to try to break that streak.

“I was looking for a knockout in every round,” Pacquiao said. “He’s a very tough fighter and a very good counter puncher.”

Pacquiao, who was guaranteed $7 million, was fighting for the first time since losing to Mayweather last May in the richest fight ever. He lost a unanimous decision in that fight, blaming his lackluster performance on the shoulder injury that flared up in the fourth round and required surgery afterward.

Still, Pacquiao was a 2-1 favorite against Bradley, who beat him on a controversial decision the first time they fought before losing a unanimous decision in the second fight in 2014.

Bradley vowed this would be his best fight, with new trainer Teddy Atlas in the corner giving him instructions. Atlas fulfilled his job, jumping into the ring after each bell to lecture Bradley, sometimes having to be pushed out of the ring by Nevada boxing officials so the next round could start.

“Teddy obviously made a difference,” Pacquiao said. “This was the best Timothy Bradley I have faced in the three fights.

If it was Pacquiao’s last fight, he goes out as one of the biggest pay-per-view attractions in the sport. Pacquiao headlined 22 pay-per-view fights, generating more than 18 million buys and $1.2 billion in PPV revenue.

His next career probably won’t be as lucrative, with Pacquiao running for the Senate in elections next month in the Philippines. Should he win – and he is one of the favorites – it would be almost impossible to remain an active fighter.

Pacquiao said in the days leading up to the fight that his family – particularly his wife – wanted him to retire.

“Thank you boxing fans,” he said in the ring afterward.

‘Canelo’ Alvarez dominates Chavez Jr., Golovkin next up

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LAS VEGAS —¬†Saul “Canelo” Alvarez dominated a grudge match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night, winning a unanimous decision in a fight that left no doubt who is the top active Mexican boxer.

Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) used a punishing jab to take control early in the 12-round matchup of former middleweight champions. The bigger Chavez (50-3-1, 32 KOs) started bleeding from the nose in the third round. His left eye swelled in the sixth and started to close a round later.

Alvarez, a 4-1 favorite, was much quicker against the largest fighter he’s faced and won every round on all three judges’ cards.

After the beating, Alvarez immediately announced he will next face middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in September in a long-awaited bout. Golovkin then quickly joined Alvarez in the ring.

The 31-year-old Chavez, son of iconic Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., was trying to revitalize a career derailed by positive drug tests, weight issues and lax training. But he proved no match in the bout fought at a catchweight of 164 1/2 pounds.

Chavez avoided a $1 million-per-pound penalty when he weighed in at 164 pounds Friday, a half-pound below the catchweight and the lightest he’s been since losing his middleweight title to Sergio Martinez in 2012.

The 26-year-old Alvarez also weighed in at 164, nine pounds heavier than he’s ever fought. Alvarez, whose lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr., got against the ropes several times and absorbed combinations from Chavez before quickly recovering with uppercuts.

Despite the 4-inch height advantage and an obvious weight edge after he rehydrated, Chavez was overmatched in his first fight under iconic trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain.

A confident Canelo didn’t bother to sit in his order after the seventh round, in a fight that wasn’t nearly as competitive as hoped.

A week after Anthony Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of a thrilling heavyweight bout in front of 90,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium, the sport staged another big fight. Only this time there was a distinct Latino flavor.

Mexican bands played outside T-Mobile Arena more than three years before the main undercard began. A majority of the 20,510 fans inside the sold-out building wore either red (Canelo) or green (Chavez) headbands as they celebrated the Cinco de Mayo weekend by chanting “Mexico, Mexico.”

There was tension between the two fighters along with political overtones as a commercial for the fight depicted both boxers bursting through President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

The red-bearded Alvarez is normally mild-mannered, but he had criticized Chavez for his work ethic. Chavez then needled him for refusing to fight the bigger Golovkin.

Alvarez was guaranteed $5 million and Chavez $3 million.

In the co-main event, former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux of Montreal took a unanimous decision over stubborn Mexican Marco Reyes in a catchweight bout at 163 pounds.

A left by Lemieux (38-3) opened a large gash above Reyes’ right eye in the second round. Lemieux later twice knocked out Reyes’ mouthpiece with punches. But Reyes (35-5) stayed upright for 10 rounds as blood streamed down his face and onto his chest.

Lemieux hopes to get a shot at Alvarez.

“I could have done better but I hurt my hand after round two,” Lemieux said.

Other matches on the undercard included Lucas Matthysse, a former junior welterweight champ, ending a 20-month layoff by dropping Emmanuel Taylor (20-5) of Maryland twice before the referee stopped it in the fifth round. The Argentine (38-4) was making his welterweight debut.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (24-0) out-pointed fellow Californian Manuel “Tino” Avila (22-1) in a one-sided 10-round featherweight bout.

For much of the undercard, fans traded “Canelo” and “Chavez” chants on a festive night that brought out several stars, including Evander Holyfield.

GGG outlasts Jacobs in close unanimous decision

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NEW YORK (AP) Gennady Golovkin outlasted Danny Jacobs in an exhausting 12-round defense of his middleweight titles Saturday night.

Both fighters are knockout artists, yet this one went the distance – the first time GGG has not had a KO in 24 fights, and his first time going 12 rounds. The Kazakh won 115-112 on two judges’ cards and 114-113 on the other.

The AP had it 114-113 for Golovkin.

In the toughest fight of his stellar career, Golovkin often was stymied by Jacobs changing to a left-handed style. But a series of hard rights throughout the bout were enough – barely – to bring his record to 37-0.

“Daniel did a very good job,” Golovkin said. “Daniel is my favorite fighter. I can’t destroy him.”

He didn’t, unlike so many other opponents who felt the fury or GGG.

“I thought I won it by at least two rounds minimum,” said Jacobs, nicknamed Miracle Man after he overcame bone cancer in 2011-12 to win 10 straight fights. “I did feel like I had to win the 12th round to make sure.”

He won it on two of the three cards, but it wasn’t enough, perhaps because he was knocked down in the fourth round, which went to Golovkin 10-8 on all three cards.

Still, with Madison Square Garden reverberating from chants of “Triple G” or “JACOBS,” no one could be sure of the outcome right until the final punch.

Jacobs is 32-2. Golovkin holds on to his belts and took Jacobs’ WBA middleweight title.

Golovkin, a world champion since 2010, is 5-0 at the Garden, which he calls a “second home.” But Jacobs, from Brooklyn and, oddly, a representative of the competing arena the Barclays Center, tested him more than anyone has.

Golovkin keeps his WBC and WBO crowns – the IBF belt was not at stake because Jacobs skipped that organization’s fight-day weigh-in. On the horizon for GGG could be that elusive meeting with Canelo Alvarez if the Mexican wins his fight in May against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

“Of course I am ready to fight Canelo, of course I want that fight,” Golovkin said. “I am like an animal for that fight.”

But there’s another option, GGG admitted.

“I will give Danny Jacobs a chance for a rematch.”

Earlier, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai stunned previously unbeaten Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, knocking down the Nicaraguan in the first round, bloodying his face with an unintentional head-butt in the third, then winning a majority decision for the WBC super flyweight championship.

Even though Sor Rungvisai was docked a point in the sixth round for another head-butt – there were several in the brutal bout – he never backed off. He relentlessly attacked the cut over the right eye of Gonzalez, who clearly was hampered by the blood streaming down his face. The challenger carried the fight in the eyes’ of the judges through the latter rounds.

In only his second fight outside Asia, Sor Rungvisai improved to 42-4-1 with 38 knockouts. Gonzalez, considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, is 46-1.

One judge had the fight even at 113-113. The other two gave the Thai the nod 114-112 in the action-packed bout.

A sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden vigorously booed the decision.

The AP had it 115-113 for Gonzalez, who has held some sort of world title since 2008.

Gonzalez went down from a hard right to the body in the opening round, but he then took charge – even after his face turned to a bloody mask in the middle rounds. However, Sor Rungvisai landed enough punches and moved well enough to keep in it.

And then, despite being outpunched decisively, with Gonzalez landing 441 to 284, the Thai got the surprise decision.

Earlier, Carlos Cuadras outpointed fellow Mexican David Carmona in a super flyweight fight.

Both from Mexico City, Cuadras and Carmona were coming off defeats. Neither was particularly sharp Saturday night, and the decision drew a lusty round of boos from the crowd.

Perhaps the unorthodox manner in which Cuadras fought, at times looking off-balance and awkward, didn’t win over the fans. Or maybe it was the way Carmona came on late in the 10-rounder.

Regardless, the judges went for Cuadras 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94.

Cuadras (36-1-1 with 27 KOs) lost a close unanimous decision to Gonzalez in a sensational September matchup for the WBC belt he’d held since 2014. He wasn’t nearly as impressive in his win at the Garden.

Carmona (20-4-5) was also coming off a loss, to WBO world champion Naoya Inoue of Japan.

Cleveland’s Ryan Martin improved to 18-0 with 11 knockouts when he totally outmatched Bryant Cruz before stopping him in the seventh round of their lightweight bout.