In what most observers are calling a highly questionable if not indefensible decision by judges in Nevada, Timothy Bradley won a split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Bradley won 115-113 on two scorecards. Pacquiao took 115-113 on only one judge's ledger. MMA Fighting scored the bout 117-111 in favor of Pacquiao. The victory makes Bradley the new WBO welterweight champion.
Pacquiao appeared to be en route to a clear unanimous decision win. According to the punching statistics shown in the HBO pay-per-view broadcast, Pacquiao landed 190 of 493 power punches to Bradley's 108 of 390. In terms of overall punches, Pacquiao also outlanded Bradley: 253 of 751 for Pacquiao, 159 of 839 for Bradley.
Bradley fought more competitive rounds later in the fight, but was battered early with hard punches. Bradley was never out of the bout, but was rocked several times and controlled by Pacquiao's superior punching power.
As part of the contractual terms in the signing of tonight's bout, a Bradley victory meant Pacquiao would earn an automatic rematch November 10th of this year.
"It's part of the game," Pacquiao told HBO commentator Max Kellerman after the decision was announced. "I accept that whole-heartedly. I did my best, but my best wasn't good enough." Pacquiao did state, however, he believed he won the fight.