Last night in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao, 54-4-2, 38 KO’s, lost his WBO welterweight title to an inspired Timothy Bradley, 29-0, 12 KO’s, but he lost a lot more than that. Sitting in a small cell is the pound for pound best boxer in the world, Floyd Mayweather, JR., and this news must be bitter-sweet.
The Mayweather – Pacquiao super fight has been the biggest boxing tease in recent history, and as the two sides found ways to make sure the fight didn’t happen, the public grew more and more disinterested. With a poor performance against Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao’s ability to compete with Floyd was brought into question and now, with this defeat, the biggest fight to be made has now fizzled away. Floyd Mayweather, JR., is the pound for pound number one fighter in the world, without question. There wasn’t really a question before, but this settles it for those that are on the PacMan bandwagon.
I scored the fight last night for Pacquiao 116-112, but there were many close rounds. This wasn’t a ridiculous blowout as the HBO team would want you to believe. Yes, Pacquiao was the bigger puncher and aggressor, but Manny isn’t a huge puncher at welterweight, obviously. He has gone the distance in his last five fights and never had Bradley in any trouble.
The HBO commentary team was manipulated by two things: One, the perception that Pacquiao is a monster puncher at 147. He lacks the devastating power that he once possessed at 130 pounds…it’s just not there. Two, every time that Manny threw, missed or landed a punch, the crowd would erupt. When Timothy Bradley was moving and dodging punches, the commentary team insisted that he was on his way down. Outside of hurting his ankle, I didn’t see any true wobbling from the challenger last night.
The HBO commentary team has been called “cheerleaders” before. When Oscar De La Hoya was HBO’s prize possession, he couldn’t lose a fight. Jim Lampley would sometimes break out the pompoms and the viewer is affected and directed by the commentary. This is why so many people are up in arms about Pacquiao’s defeat. It wasn’t clear, but it wasn’t controversial. It was a close fight and the rounds were, for the most part, nondescript.
The “victory” over Marquez in his last fight was more controversial than this defeat. Bradley swept many of the later rounds, kept it close in the early rounds. The HBO commentary team and Harold Lederman were basing every round’s scoring on if Pacquiao could land one good straight left hand. Bradley landed some good punches, including many left hooks and did some body work. That was all dismissed. Bradley was not a house of fire and did not prove to be the beast that many of us expected, but he didn’t do that badly either. This fight is debatable, but it is not a robbery.
Bob Arum has come out and said that this fight result was ridiculous. He made his bed and must now sleep in it. He is the primary reason why the Mayweather – Pacquiao fight never happened. He was trying to get a “set up” sort of fight for Manny, putting him in against a light puncher that would be there to be hit in Bradley, but Pacquiao has less left than he thought and less power than he thought and couldn’t get the job done. He should have cashed in immediately after the last Marquez fight…agreeing to whatever Floyd offered, because, as it has been proven, Floyd is a bigger draw and more people want to see him lose then to see Pacquiao win. Now that fight is gone, unless Manny wants to take a great deal less, and Arum has lost a lot of money. I’m quite sure that Arum planned to have Pacquiao fight Mayweather, after he squeezed Manny for all of the money he could. Now, a rematch in November with Bradley is on the agenda, apparently, but if last night’s fight is an indication, it won’t be a barnburner and will probably be another close scrap.
Timothy Bradley, a 5-1 underdog, came into this fight ready for war and he got it. He overcame a sprained ankle and got the biggest win of his career, shaking the boxing world to its core. Those in the Philippines are infuriated, the groupie journalists that have been on Manny’s knob for years must start looking elsewhere, and a new day has begun. This decision, if you agree with it or not, is good for boxing. The Floyd – Manny tease had gotten old and we now have new life pumped into the game. This fight will make Bradley a better boxer, and in the rematch, you can expect him to be more confident, realizing that he can hang with the best in the world because he is one of the best in the world. I suspect he will win again.
So, what’s next for Floyd Mayweather, JR? When he gets out of jail, he will begin shopping around. Saul Alvarez is a little green at this point, but Sergio Martinez is ready, willing and able. Floyd missed the boat here too with the Pacquiao defeat, losing millions, but he will recover. He still has that prize “0” in his loss column and knows how to market himself. He will still be headlining PPVs while Pacquiao reads his bible, prays for everyone, and then retires.