Manny Pacquiao returning to the top only seems normal

Antonio MArgarito, left, reels from a blow by Manny Pacquiao in a bout for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title during Top Rank Boxing at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday November 13, 2010. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Antonio MArgarito, left, reels from a blow by Manny Pacquiao in a bout for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title during Top Rank Boxing at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday November 13, 2010. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Sports got some normalcy on Saturday night — Manny Pacquiao dominated another great opponent.

There wasn’t a bogus decision that spoiled it. Nor was there a devastating counter punch that ended his night. It was just one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of this generation taking back his welterweight title.

It wasn’t the same, vintage Pacquiao that ended all of his fights in knockouts, but the 35-year-old looked close to it. He strung together brilliant flurries of punches against Timothy Bradley and had him backpedaling for the second half of the fight. Pacquiao even showed a much-improved defense that helped him shift the momentum to his side in the middle of the match.

 

 

This time, he did enough to prevent giving the judges any reason to justify Bradley as the winner.

Yes, I’ll throw out my obligatory post-Pacquiao fight declaration again that he must fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. before their careers are over. Of course, there is a slew of politics that would need to be sorted out before it ever happens, but he deserves it. Fans deserve it. Everyone in boxing deserves it.

We’ve been seeing a lot of greats like Kobe Bryant and Anderson Silva lately who’ve been in a free-fall as they reach the end of their careers, but it’s refreshing to see Pacquiao reach back to the top as his legacy comes to a close.

Reach the columnist at jnacion@asu.edu or follow him at Twitter @Josh_Nacion