To call Timothy Bradley’s split decision over Manny Pacquiao late Saturday night/Sunday morning a bad decision is to miss the point entirely. God knows there have been classic bad decisions in boxing history–the first being the Joe Louis-Jersey Joe Wolcott fight in 1947. Louis was awarded a decision despite hitting the deck twice. Another was the Oscar De La Hoya-Shane Mosely fight in 2003, in which de la Hoya cleaned Mosely’s clock but had his victory stolen by the officials’ seeing eye dogs.
But what happened in this fight wasn’t in the same universe. This wasn’t a bad decision, it was an out-and-out lie. Nothing so crooked has been perpetrated on the ticket-buying public in this generation – or any other that I know of.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, probably the sharpest boxing writer around, scored it 119-109 Pacquiao, and HBO’s unofficial judge, Harold Lederman, probably the best scorer in boxing right now, also had it 119-109, which means, in effect 11-1 rounds for Pacquiao.
I had it 10-1-1. In hindsight, though, I was probably being a little generous..
The CompuBox numbers back us up, showing that Pacquiao landed more
punches than Bradley in at least 10 of the 12 rounds. Manny landed 253
of 751 punches thrown (34%) while Bradley landed just 115 of 839 (19%).
Pacquiao also landed 82 more so-called “power shots,” 190-108.
Yes, I know the argument against CompuBox scoring – simply landing a
punch doesn’t mean that you landed he harder punch, and a power puncher
like Rocky Marciano could land one power punch which negated 100 thrown
by his opponent.
Okay, but the vast majority of fighters are not Rocky Marciano, and
in any event there was not only no knockout last night, there weren’t
any knockdowns. The naked eye confirmed what the statistics said: Manny
Pacquiao not only landed far more punches, he landed the much harder
punches, staggering the unbeaten Bradley at least three times during the
Let me make this as clear as possible: I did not see Bradley land one
hard, clean shot the entire bout. And in case you award points for
aggressiveness, there wasn’t any question as to who the aggressor was:
Pacquiao was the one moving forward the entire fight.
And here’s how the officials scored it. Judge Jerry Roth scored it
115-113 Pacquiao – that’s 7 rounds to 5. Officials C.J. Ross and Duane
Ford both scored it 115-13 Bradley, meaning they thought Bradley won 7
of the 12 rounds. .
Here’s what I think of Roth’s scoring: if he thought Pacquiao won
only 7 rounds of the 12, he should retire from judging fights. As for
Ross and Ford, I don’t know what motivated them, but their judgment was
The fight’s promoter Bob Arum thought so, too: I couldn’t believe
the decision. This was totally lop-sided. I had it 10 rounds to 2 for
Good for you, Bob – but let’s review who benefited most from this
travesty. I hear people asking why Arum or anyone fix against Pacquiao
knowing that there was such a huge bundle of money to be made on a Manny
Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, Jr fight? Well, you wouldn’t if you thought
that fight would ever happen. But I think three years of fruitless
side-stepping from Mayweather’s corner – all this stuff about Pacquiao
being n performance enhancing drugs and that he needs to take drug tests
under condition agreeable to Mayweather’s camp – clearly indicates that
Mayweather isn’t ever going to fight Pacquiao. And Pacquiao, who has
been under contract to arum, is soon to become a free agent.
So the biggest payday out there by far would be a Pacquiao-Bradley
rematch. – and quel surprise! – Arum already has a contract for the
rematch. In fact, Bradley actually tweeted a photo of the rematch
poster back on May 28! The rematch is set for November 10.
No one knows exactly how deep this corruption goes. Rumors have been
rampant that Pacquiao has spent through much of his fortune an actually
had to take a $2 million advance from Arum a couple of months ago. Are
HBO or anyone else connected with this rematch going to step up and say
I’m betting that whatever happens, which will probably be little or
nothing – in other words the fight will go on in November as if there
was nothing rotten about it – ESPN’s Teddy Atlas will not be involved.
No sooner was the decision announced than Atlas, visibly staggered by
the absurdity of the decision, told another ESPN commentator,
“Unfortunately, the scorers of rights are often incompetent. Sometimes
they’re more [sic] than incompetent. Sometimes they’re corrupt. Boxing
doesn’t have a national commission like other sports do. Doesn’t have a
police body, like other sports have. And therefore you get this kind of
situation. I’m not sure if it’s accurate that Pacquiao was about to
leave one of the kingpins of the sport, Bob Arum ” – it is accurate, BTW
– “his contract was running out … And when that happens, sometimes
funny things happen. But the bottom line is, if you’re an honest man, if
you’re a competent person that knows what he’s watching, Pacquiao won
that fight …”
“It’s an injustice to the sport, injustice to the fighters, injustice
to the fan base. It’s one of the fallacies, it’s one of the problems
with the sport of boxing right now, is that the wrong guy wins