It was the biggest victory of his career. In one of the biggest fights of the year, Timothy Bradley, 29-0, 12 KO’s, pulled off the major upset with a split decision win over Manny Pacquiao, 54-4-2, 38 KO’s. The HBO commentary team and public were enraged by the decision and demands of a “no contest” or reversal of the verdict was sounded, but the WBO welterweight title rightfully remained around the waist of the new champ, Bradley.
The problem Bradley faces is a personal one. Although he won the title, the public believe him to be unworthy of the distinction. Bradley fought with all of his heart, on two hurt ankles, and still managed to make it a very close fight. Despite Harold Lederman’s scorecard of 119-109 for Manny, RSR would have it scored 115-113 for Pacquiao after watching it a second time. There were a lot of close rounds and if you listen to the commentary and watch the action, you can almost envision the pom-poms in Jim Lampley’s hands.
At one point, Pacquiao is unloading punches and Bradley is falling back, ducking and dodging every single one. After Manny misses every shot, Bradley lands a flush left hook, but all you hear is the HBO team screaming how Bradley was stunned. When you hear that at home, you are going to side with Pacquiao in the round and with the perception that Manny is this huge puncher, it also nudges you along to score it for the Filipino fighter.
Manny is a big puncher, but not at welterweight. He can hurt a welterweight, but he hasn’t knocked one cold and he may have stunned Bradley here and there, but he never had him in any serious trouble. Bradley isn’t a big puncher but he did swing for the fences quite often in there and deserved credit for the body work he did and the left hooks that he bounced off of Manny’s head. He got zero credit from the commentary team or HBO.
To validate his victory, Bradley has expressed great interest in fighting Manny again, but Pacquiao does not want it. When Bradley’s ankles betrayed him, he still was able to hang in there and last the full 12. More confident and motivated now, Bradley will be a tougher challenge and Pacquiao will probably just quit while he’s ahead. He still won the fight in the eyes of many and could win very little with a victory over Bradley. To most, he’s already done it and can go after Marquez again or Floyd Mayweather, JR.
For Bradley, this leaves the options wide open, but he’s not the draw that Floyd or Manny are. Floyd will probably be facing off against Amir Khan or another notable challenger while Pacquiao faces Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight…which will probably be Manny’s farewell fight.
Timothy Bradley fought for respect against Pacquiao and didn’t get it. He feels he needs to win decisively to get the public to take him seriously. Manny won’t give him that chance. This victory will linger over Bradley’s head as a dark cloud for some time as the public, notorious sheep, nod in unison as HBO and the vast amount of Pac-Groupie journalists scream “ROBBERY!”