If anyone ever wondered why boxing is losing its appeal and the Ultimate Fighting Championship has taken over the combat sports throne, Saturday night’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight for Pacquaio’s WBO welterweight belt was the answer to your queries.
If you looked up “fix” in the dictionary, there would be the pictures of two elderly American boxing judges right beside it. This was so bad, it was a cartoon.
In fact, this was so bad, even Bradley’s supporters booed the result.
Bradley won the fight on a split decision to hand Pacquiao his first defeat since losing to Mexican bomb-thrower Erik Morales in 2005. And Pacquaio didn’t even seem to care. It’s as if he knew what was coming. The decision was rotten to the core and it sure appears as if money was right at the heart of it. After all, a Bradley win and there would be a guaranteed multi-million dollar re-match on Nov. 10 back in Vegas. Just as Bradley predicted.
Gee, what a surprise. The promoters got their wish. there WILL be a re-match on Nov. 10 in Las Vegas and even the guy who lost the fight told the crowd he thought that would be a good idea. Huh?
As I watched the fight, it was clear Pacquiao had it under control. This was a no doubter. He was the champ, he controlled the fight from Round 1 right through Round 12 and yet the judges, clearly told to make it look close so that the re-match takes place, pronounced Bradley the winner in an impossible decision. Not even a blind person could have judged the fight that way.
Judge Jerry Roth (115-113) awarded the fight to Pacquiao while CJ Ross (115-113) and Duane Ford (115-113) handed it to Bradley. Pacquiao just shrugged. Even after the fight, right inside the ring, you got the sense this whole exercise was a set up for a re-match. This was nothing more than a money grab.
And it’s just so perfect. Bradley remains undefeated, improving to 29-0, with 12 KOs while Pacquiao falls to 54-4-2, with 38 KOs. Obviously, there was no secondary dough involved if Pacquiao won. That was it. The promoters would have to scrounge around and find another tomato can like Bradley for Pacquiao to dominate. However, if Bradley won the fight, you had yourself a natural re-match, no search for a suitable opponent would be necessary and a guaranteed eight-figure world wide payout would be on its way.
Everyone knows that in the world of boxing, there is a sucker born every minute.
According to USA Today, “Virtually every reporter at ringside had scored it clearly for Pacquiao. HBO’s resident judge Harold Lederman scored it 119-109 in favor of Pacquiao. In an informal survey of boxing writers, all had Pacquiao comfortably ahead. The CompuBox punch count favored Pacquiao by a wide margin. CompuBox had Pacquiao connecting on 253 total punches – nearly 100 more than Bradley’s 159. Pacquiao also landed 190 power punches to Bradley’s 108.”
“I did my best tonight, but my best wasn’t good enough,” said Pacquiao, who, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, congratulated both Bradley and his father, Tim Sr., afterward and told them Bradley will make a great champion.
“Tonight, he never hurt me. I don’t know what happened.”
Yeah, bullshit Manny, you know exactly what happened.
However, according to three or four media outlets, promoter Bob Arum said publicly that even he couldn’t even stomach the outcome. In fact, Arum went right over to media row after the decision and said he had scored it 10 rounds to 2 for Pacquiao, and said even Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, had it 8-4 for Pacquiao.
“We’ll make a lot of money on the rematch, but this is (expletive) nuts,” the 80-year-old Arum was reported to have said. “People don’t even know what they’re watching anymore. They’re trying to kill boxing. I don’t think anything was happening here except these people don’t know how to score. They really don’t.”
According to USA Today, he said later that the “outcry worldwide, about this decision, will not be good for boxing.” Then he couched his remarks suggesting the result was, “not disgraceful, but ridiculous.”
But then, I guess he got nervous, adding that “The one thing I refuse to believe is that anything ‘funny’ is going on here. Betting, or anything like that. I don’t believe it.” Betting? Come on, Bob, that’s not the issue. The issue is you.
Don’t protest Bob. The fight was fixed. You have contracts with both fighters. It was too obvious not to be fixed. After all, Bradley earned the biggest payday of his career at $5 million, while Pacquiao was guaranteed $26 million, plus an upside from the pay-per-view revenue. He’ll get more next time. No wonder he didn’t even protest a little bit.