Filipino loses controversial decision in Las Vegas
Timothy Bradley ended Manny Pacquiao's 15-fight unbeaten run with a controversial split decision victory in Las Vegas.
In a result that Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum called 'unfathomable', American Bradley won 115-113 on two of the scorecards, with Pacquiao taking the third by the same score.
In taking the WBO welterweight title, Bradley may well have ended any more talk of Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather Jnr, a clash that now seems farther away than ever.
Pac-Man, now 54-4-2, had been an overwhelming favourite going in but started sluggishly in the opening round, only to land three meaty lefts in the closing moments to apparently edge it.
Bradley was allowing too many lefts to land, but was working hard to keep himself in the game, landing decent right-hands in the second and third rounds.
Pacquiao nevertheless looked comfortable, boxing within himself but seemingly controlling the pace, and by the fifth round Bradley was in visible discomfort with an injured foot.
A pattern had started to emerge, with Bradley attempting to come out hard at the start of each round but Pacquiao finishing strongly and connecting with some considerable success.
But the challenger reverted to using his boxing skills from halfway and started to frustrate the Filipino, the American enjoying his best moments of the fight in the last three rounds as Pacquiao's control waned a little.
The challenger unleashed an array of punches in the 12th to close on a high, even though most in the MGM Grand didn't think it was enough to sway the judges.
"I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight," said Arum, who handles both fighters. "I'll make a lot of money off the rematch, but this was outrageous."
Pacquiao said he thought he won the fight, but added: "I accept what the result is. I respect the judges, I cannot blame them. It is a part of the game. I do my best but my best wasn't good enough."
The official statistics reflected how much more punishing Pacquiao's blows had been. He connected with a higher percentage of punches thrown, 253 of 751 to the 159 of 839 for the American, and landed 190 power punches compared to his opponent's 108.
Bradley said: "It was a good, competitive fight. Every round was pretty close. Pacquiao won some of the early rounds. I controlled the later rounds with my jab. I need to go home and review the tape.
"He is a strong puncher. He rocked me a couple of times in the fight but I held my ground and fought to the end. This is boxing."
Bradley had been so confident he had oversized tickets printed up for a November 10 rematch that will now likely happen.