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LAS VEGAS -- Top Rank's plan after signing junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. in October was to showcase him on Manny Pacquiao's undercard with the idea of eventually matching them, perhaps as soon as next spring if a fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not made.
The problem was that Bradley was matched with long-faded 40-year-old Joel Casamayor, who, like Bradley, is known for using his head. He has also made for many an agonizing fight.
|Timothy Bradley Jr. would do well to turn his back on Saturday's fight against 40-year-old Joel Casamayor -- an awful match -- and move forward.|
So although Bradley scored an eighth-round TKO on Saturday night in the co-featured bout on the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he did nothing to give boxing fans a reason to demand to see him in the ring with Pacquiao.
Nonetheless, Bradley, 28, of Palm Springs, Calif., went about his business in a dominant performance, even if it wasn't very entertaining.
After numerous fouls from Casamayor -- head-butts, elbows and low blows -- referee Vic Drakulich docked him a point in the fourth round for a shot below the belt.
Bradley, fighting for the first time since his 10th-round technical decision win against Devon Alexander in a January unification fight, padded his lead with knockdowns in the fifth and sixth rounds. Casamayor went down from a left to the body in the fifth and from a left to the head in the sixth.
Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), who made his sixth title defense, was rolling along and put Casamayor (38-6-1, 22 KOs) down in the eighth round on an accumulation of punches, prompting Casamayor cornerman Miguel Diaz to throw in the towel, and referee Jay Nady stopped it at 2 minutes, 59 seconds.
"I was a little rusty," said Bradley, who made $1.025 million. "I was rushing my punches. At the end of the third round, my corner told me to relax and put my punches together. I was rushing too much in the beginning. I can't wait to fight again."
Former lightweight and junior lightweight titlist Casamayor, who made $100,000, may keep fighting, but the 1992 Cuban Olympic gold medalist just had nothing left to hold off Bradley.
Bradley rejected a July unification fight with Amir Khan and split with co-promoters Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson, who sued him and Top Rank. But they were denied in their legal bid to prevent Bradley from fighting this week.
Junior welterweight Mike Alvarado (32-0, 23 KOs), in big trouble and his face a bloody mess, rallied for an impressive comeback to stop Breidis Prescott (24-4, 19 KOs) in the 10th round.
|Breidis Prescott had Mike Alvarado bloodied and nearly beaten, but Alvarado came on and, eventually, overwhelmed the wearied Prescott.|
Alvarado was taking a step up in competition and it didn't look good for most of the fight.
He had a bloody nose in the fourth round, and by the end of the fifth round his face was a mess. It was swelling, his left eye was damaged and blood was pouring from his mouth after a barrage of powerful shots by Prescott.
But as Prescott began to tire, Alvarado got back into the fight in the late rounds. Alvarado, trailing on all three scorecards going into the final round, came storming back in the 10th. He was hurting Prescott and then staggered him with a flush uppercut that sent Prescott reeling. Prescott seemed out of it at that point, and referee Jay Nady stepped in at 1 minutes, 53 seconds.
"My best rounds are always the late rounds," said Alvarado, 31, of Denver. "He was leaning forward and I started using the uppercuts. That's what did it."
Prescott, 28, of Colombia, is best known for his first-round knockout in 2008 against then-lightweight Khan, who called the fight from ringside as part of the British broadcast team. Prescott lost his second in a row, including a close decision to Paul McCloskey in Northern Ireland in September.
• Junior lightweight Juan Carlos Burgos (28-1, 19 KOs) claimed a well-deserved majority decision against Luis Cruz (19-1, 15 KOs) in the opening fight of the pay-per-view.
Burgos, 23, of Mexico, started strong and never let up, winning 98-92 and 97-93, while the third judge had it 95-95. But Burgos was clearly the harder puncher and more aggressive than Cruz, a Puerto Rican out of Miguel Cotto's stable. Burgos hurt Cruz, 25, to the body repeatedly, especially in the early rounds. He swelled Cruz's right eye by the sixth round, rocked him in the ninth and was on the attack throughout the bout.
"I was concentrating on getting my rhythm early and to control pace of the fight," Burgos said. "I gained more confidence every time I would land a left hook. This was an opportunity I could not throw away on such a big stage as a Manny Pacquiao fight."
Burgos, who moved up in weight, won his third fight in a row since losing a competitive decision to Hozumi Hasegawa for a vacant featherweight belt last November in Japan.
Cruz said he was rushed to the ring.
"I was very late getting warmed up because of a urine test," he said. "They rushed me in there and I was not ready. By the time I felt good, four rounds had gone by. I am disappointed because this was a big opportunity for me."
• Blue-chip junior welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. (14-0, 12 KOs), a 19-year-old from Phoenix, utterly dominated tough Sammy Santana (4-5-2, 0 KOs) of Puerto Rico for a shutout six-round decision, winning 60-50 on each card. Benavidez, with an obvious height advantage, was all over Santana. He dropped Santana twice in the first round, put him down with a body shot in the second round, scored another knockdown late in the fourth and cruised.
• Welterweight Dennis Laurente (38-3-4, 20 KOs), one of Pacquiao's fighters from the Philippines, knocked out Ayi Bruce (13-5, 6 KOs) of Albany, N.Y., in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-rounder.
• Featherweight Victor Pasillas (1-0) of East Los Angeles, looking quite poised for a 19-year-old, made a successful professional debut. He outboxed Jose Garcia (0-4) for a shutout decision, 40-36 on all three scorecards.
• In the first fight of the night, junior bantamweight Fernando Lumacad (25-3-3, 12 KOs), who is with Pacquiao's promotional company, pounded out an eight-round unanimous decision against San Antonio's Joseph Rios (10-6-2, 4 KOs). Lumacad dropped him in the second and fifth rounds and won 78-72, 77-74, 77-73.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.