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Goodbye, Perfect Warrior

/ 02:36 AM April 12, 2016

TRAINER Teddy Atlas can’t be blamed for disputing the seventh-round knockdown suffered by Timothy Bradley Jr. in the hands of Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last Saturday.

The blitz combination connected by Pacquiao slashed out in a blur.

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Atlas was only human. The punches delivered by Pacquiao were barely visible.

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That blazing point in the seventh round, by the way, could have well sparked the moment of truth in the third encounter between the rivals, a bout which had been billed in advance as a real war.

Pacquiao, aiming for a spectacular finish, did go for a knockout, as he had vowed. But there were hazy, surreal moments when Pacquiao, clearly not his old fiery self, tarried repeatedly and went on to yield at least a total of three rounds to his muscular opponent.

The bout was already slipping into a dull remake of their first two encounters—until Pacquiao decided to stop carefully pacing himself.

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He went full-blast in a snap. If the seventh-round decking had puzzled Atlas, the incident in the ninth round when Bradley fell backward and tumbled over as though swept by a tornado—his cute black shoes comically trained toward the sky—clearly capped Pacquiao’s epic stand in what he said would be his farewell bout.

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It was not the best of Pacquiao out there on Saturday night.

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However, it can’t be denied it was perfect both for himself and his loving fans

A perfect night for the Perfect Warrior.

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Oddly, Bradley claimed he couldn’t remember—he neither noticed nor felt—the scalpel-sharp left blow that must have landed like a numbing bludgeon in the ninth.

For the record, Bradley did start to loom like a big riddle in the prefight days, but he ultimately ended up punished and truly puzzled at the end of the 12-round non-title bout.

In the final round alone, there was no disputing what trainer Freddie Roach had predicted that, although supposedly resharpened and reformed by his credentialed trainer, Bradley would revert to his old stamerring self once he felt the horse-kick power of Pacquiao’s hands.

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Shortly before the final bell, when ringside fans were all on their feet, Pacquiao decided to go all out for a knockout. Bradley, his mouth cut and bloodied, was caught between rope strands following another bombardment.

The hulking but frantic American appeared as though he was groping for the fire escape.

Didn’t he actually want to slip out of the ring?

You can go any day, Mr. Bradley.

Please don’t go, Manny Pacquiao.

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TAGS: Boxing, Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao, Teddy Atlas, Timothy Bradley
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