LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao said that he felt "satisfied" and "enjoyed" Saturday night's "toe-to-toe" unanimous decision victory over Tim Bradley, from whom he regained the WBO 147-pound belt that he lost by a disputed split decision in June 2012.
"I enjoyed it, because my opponent was moving in the early rounds, so he was coming inside and he wanted to fight toe-to-toe," said Pacquiao, 35, adding that "because of the crowd, I felt like I was in the Philippines."
"Tonight, the fight was good. My opponent was trying to knock me out, and I was trying to knock him out, also. But there were times where he hit me also with a good right hook, left hook. But it's okay. This fight, I'm satisfied."
In his past four fights, Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts) lost to Bradley, suffered a sixth-round knockout against Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012, and unanimously decisioned Brandon Rios in November before facing Bradley again.
Bradley had entered the bout saying that Pacquiao had lost his fire and that his desire was no longer there for the sport.
"Bradley was wild on the outside, so I went on the inside. I knew I had to do more in this fight than I did in the last fight. I told my team after the fight that I'm going to be nice to my opponent after the fight. Not in the fight," said Pacquiao.
"I would grab the opportunity if he gave me the chance to knock him out. That's what I tried to do. But he was moving his head and he had good defense and he was missing a lot of punches with his defense."
Since defeating Pacquiao, Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) had risen from a 12th-round knockdown to beat Ruslan Provodnikov in March before earning October's split-decision over Marquez, against whom Pacquiao is 2-1-1.
"Bradley is very, very tough. We saw that in his last two fights with Marquez and Ruslan. Many times, I hit him hard, but he's still there. I wasn't surprised by his strategy or his style. The problem is that I got a little bit hurt in my legs. They cramped," said Pacquiao.
"But, thank God, I was able to manage it for the 12 rounds. It was hard to move. I'm trying to finish him several times. We were throwing a lot of punches and he was throwing a lot of punches, but he managed it. We can not underestimate Tim Bradley, because he's very, very tough."
The WBO has mandated that Pacquiao face the winner of a May 17 clash between Marquez and Mike Alvarado, whose past three fights were a seventh-round knockout loss to Rios in October 2012, winning their rematch by unanimous decision for the WBO 140-pound belt last March, and being dethroned by Provodnikov with a 10th-round stoppage in October.
"Marquez has to finish his fight first, and then, it's up to my promoter. That's good for me," said Pacquiao, referring to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. "This was a big difference between this fight and the last fight. Bradley improved a lot. He's a tough fighter. This is a credit not only to me, but also him."
Pacquiao said that he might come to New York on June 7 to watch RING and WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez face three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto, whom Pacquiao defeated by 12th-round knockout in November 2009.
Pacquiao certainly will fight on.
"This win was important," said Pacquiao. "I proved that my boxing journey will continue."