It is the biggest controversy in recent boxing history. Top Rank’s cash cow, Manny Pacquiao, 54-4-2, 38 KO’s, seemed to have done enough for the decision win over challenger, Timothy Bradley, 29-0, 12 KO’s, last Saturday night, but the judges viewed it otherwise.
The split decision win for Bradley has been met by a public backlash. Angry Pacquiao supporters have filled the message boards with their anger-filled rants, boxing groupie writers that have been on Manny’s knob for years have demanded justice, Bob Arum has called it ‘ridiculous,’ and the list goes on and on. The biggest moment in the career of Bradley has been tarnished by the continual demands of an investigation and justice.
Did Bradley really beat Manny Pacquiao? He landed less punches, doesn’t pack the power in his punches, and played the role of counter puncher to the aggressive champion. All signs, at the end, pointed to the PacMan coming out victorious, but this is boxing and boxing is subjective.
What most of the people analyzing this fight tend to overlook is that the entire fight is not based on one round. In the first round, Manny landed three straight left hands that appeared to wobble Bradley, but, after that, the two fighters both had moments. The body work and counter left hooks that Bradley landed were overlooked by the HBO commentary team, Harold Lederman and the viewers at home. It was an easy thing to do. Every time that Pacquiao thought of throwing a punch, the crowd would erupt in applause. Every time that Bradley landed a good shot, the crowd went silent. The fact that he got this decision is remarkable.
The judges have a responsibility to ignore the commentary team and the reactions of the fans and focus directly on the fight. With so many rounds so uneventful and even, a 115-113 card for Bradley is not surprising. Because Manny is perceived as such a force, the incoming shots from Bradley did not register with the fans or HBO team. Bradley, even if he was winning clearly, would have a hard time convincing anyone. Take the first round for instance, a round that Bradley won, the HBO team gave it to Manny because of the burst at the end of the round. For 10 seconds of the round, they gave him it in the entirety.
Bradley didn’t impose his will on Manny and Manny didn’t do it to him. Pacquiao, being the superstar, pound for pound, deadly puncher that he is, should have destroyed Bradley…but he didn’t. He even admitted taking some rounds off. On the night of the fight, I scored it 116-112 for Manny, but there were rounds that I was not sold on. The fight was not this dominant show of Pacquiao’s skills. This was a struggle and Manny did not look that great. Bradley didn’t do what he should have done. He should have taken the belt from the champion, but this is boxing, and the judges felt he did enough. There is no conspiracy there.
Bradley did really beat Manny, just like Pacquiao beat Juan Manuel Marquez in the last two bouts. If you live by the sword, you die by it, and Manny was given two close decisions that should have gone to Marquez. This fight seemed to be Pacquiao’s, probably should have been given to him, but the closest people to the ring were the judges and they are not recanting.
The drama continues and expect a rematch in November, unless Floyd gets to Bradley first.