Pacquiao vs Bradley: One fan’s perspective on a robbery
Boxing often reminds me of a close friend or relative whose life is in constant peril due to addiction. You see the signs and symptoms, yet they refuse to acknowledge that anything’s wrong.
The sense of helplessness you feel is only equalled by their inability to cope with their vices.
Boxing, it seems, is addicted to it’s own corruption. It’s an inescapable high enjoyed only by those who profit from it.
Controversy was in the air at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when Timothy Bradley defeated Manny Pacquiao by split decision for the WBO welterweight title.
The loss marked an end to Pacquiao’s seven-year, 15-fight win streak. Two scorecards read 115-113 in favour of Bradley, while Jerry Roth was alone in scoring the fight 115-113 for Pacquiao.
The announcement lead to a chorus of boos from the pro-Pacquiao crowd. The HBO commentary team, who scored the fight 119-109 for Pacquiao, were left stunned by the decision. CompuBox numbers showed Pacquiao out-landing Bradley 253 to 159.
My personal scorecard read 117-112 for Pacquiao. I gave Bradley rounds 1, 10 and 11 with round 9 being even.
Pacquiao had an unusually slow start and took a while to find his rhythm. Once he did, he landed his straight left hand almost at will and buckled Bradley several times.
By the midway point, Bradley’s bravado had lessened considerably and he resorted to pawing with his jab and clinching.
Pacquiao continued in dominant cruise control until round 9 when Bradley started finding his mark. He edged out Pacquiao in rounds 10 and 11 by controlling the ring and landing effective counter-punches. Pacquiao finished strong in the 12th and sealed what had appeared to be a sure victory.
In an article from November last year, I noted that I had Juan Manuel Marquez winning 116-113 against Pacquiao. In that instance, it was a very close fight that honestly could’ve been scored either way. With the Bradley fight, most experts felt that the bout wasn’t even close.
I’m definitely with the majority on this one. I’m baffled as to which fight the judges were even watching. Pacquiao controlled the bout without question.
The rounds that Bradley won are subject to debate, too – Pacquiao was still scoring effectively during those rounds. It was highway robbery on the Vegas strip and the bright lights amounted to broad daylight. It was part-scam, part-spectacle.
There are two unwritten laws of boxing that will come up in the heated debates.
Firstly, the final three rounds of a title fight are considered the “championship rounds”, where one’s true grit is shown and fights are often won in dramatic fashion. It’s a nice cliché, but in the end the 10-point must system scores all rounds with equal weight. Even if Bradley did win rounds 10 and 11, they weren’t enough to cancel out Pacquiao dominating over two-thirds of the fight.
The second unwritten law is the mantra that a challenger must defeat the champion to take his belt. Since Pacquiao was the titleholder, it was up to Bradley to prove his superiority in taking the title away. Not only was Bradley outclassed, but it was Pacquiao who looked to end the fight with a knockout. I give Bradley credit for stepping up to the big leagues, but you don’t get points for effort in this game.
Pacquiao has exercised his rematch clause – the date is currently set for November 10.
• Was it just me or did the entire card have a weird vibe to it? I thought the constant questioning of Pacquiao’s “new-found” (he’s always been religious) faith was a bit much. And delaying a PPV telecast because of the NBA playoffs? Could you imagine Darren Lockyer holding up State of Origin because the finale of MasterChef is on?
• Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum was quoted as saying “I’ll make a lot of money off the rematch, but this was outrageous.” – Really Bob? Credibility, exit stage left!
• Perhaps the most disappointing part of all is that boxing’s biggest draw is tied up to a rematch or two with a fighter that most fans didn’t even know until yesterday. Somewhere in a Vegas prison cell, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is smiling.
• I give all the credit and none of the blame to Bradley. What’s a guy to do when he’s handed the biggest win of his career? He’s one of boxing’s genuine nice guys, even if he did have a hard time convincing himself in the post-fight interview that he won. Congratulations, Tim!
• Boxing’s dead, boycott boxing, this is like WWE etc. – what else is new? Boxing’s been through worse.