We plucked down our $64.99 to watch Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley expecting to see the laughter of a fight that we predicted earlier this week. It wasn’t that we did not respect Tim Bradley’s undefeated record, but it was the fact that Bradley was not ready for a fighter the caliber of Manny Pacquiao. After twelve rounds of boxing that held true, Bradley was wild and erratic with his punches while Manny landed more shots and consistently hit Bradley. The only problem is the judges saw it a bit differently awarding the fight to Bradley in a split decision.
We don’t normally buy into conspiracy theories here at the Sports Session, but it is difficult not to consider those possibilities after this decision. First let’s say that boxing just like any sport that relies on judges can be very unpredictable and the judges can see a very different fight than others who may be sitting in different locations. That is why it is imperative that boxers knock a guy out whenever possible, so that they don’t leave any doubts as to the outcome of the fight. Manny Pacquiao decided that after the sixth round he had things in the bag, and started toying with Bradley by dropping his activity and being selective with his punches. This was a mistake on Pacquiao’s part because it gave the appearance to the judges that the fight had somehow turned because of something Bradley did which was not the case. Here are the possible reasons for the horrible decision that was Pacquiao vs. Bradley.
- The Judges Vantage Point Showed Them Bradley Was The Winner – Considering all of the judges had the fight scored closely this is a reasonable conclusion that from where the judges were sitting, they may have missed some of the shots Pacquiao landed and it may have appeared that Bradley did more than he actually did. The only reason this might have some credibility is all of the judges scored the fight 113 – 115 which means they were all seeing the fight about the same way, and felt that Bradley won by a small margin after everything was over. Although it is unlikely, it is quite possible that they saw a few shots landed by Bradley as the reason Pacman slowed his aggressiveness later in the fight.
- The Fix Was In From The Beginning – I don’t recall Manny Pacquiao having re-match clauses built into the contracts of most of his fights, and the fact that it was discussed so heavily leading up to the fight was odd. Timothy Bradley spent more time talking about the re-match after he beats Pacquiao as the fight grew closer, and a fighter being confident is one thing, but talking about the re-match so heavily was odd. This scenario is a bit unlikely because Pacquiao would never have agreed to throwing a fight, and the look on Bradley’s face at the end of the fight indicated that he thought he had lost. The re-match clause is either standard operating procedure for champions, or Pacquiao’s camp detected that something was a little out of place and had the clause as insurance. Pacquiao did not seem surprised by the decision, or he was just putting on a good face for the camera, most boxers in that situation would be extremely upset, but his new found faith may have something to do with it.
- The Judges Were Encouraged To Produce A Bradley Win If Possible – We don’t like fostering conspiracy theories, but this is a very likely scenario. The other factor here is maybe Pacquiao just got three horrible judges at the same time, but that shouldn’t happen in a title fight. What is more likely is someone encouraged the judges to put Bradley over if given the opportunity, and knowing that Manny likes to string out the fight even when he has it won made that likelihood more likely. This benefits a lot of people in boxing because all the Heat for setting up a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight is all but dead at this point, and both fighters can still make good money each fight. The fact that Floyd Mayweather controls how much money he makes from his fights and cuts out promoters like Bob Arum made the fight unlikely to happen, and a Pacquiao loss does not really tarnish his legacy at all in the process.
It may be difficult to consider any one of those three points, but point number three is the most likely. It’s hard to believe that from the fight that we watched all three judges would score it that close for Bradley. Pacquiao didn’t look dominant, but he was clearly winning the fight. Bradley’s shots were wild and inaccurate, even though he landed some good punches throughout the fight. Pacquiao landed crisp shots, and staggered Bradley several times as he was trying to avoid Pacman’s punches. The staggers and rubber legs were very easy to see, to anyone watching the fight.
By giving this loss to Pacman it actually may help boxing in the long run because if the mega fight between he and Mayweather happened, there would be nothing left after that. Mayweather and Pacquiao are getting towards the end of their careers, and boxing wants to start marketing stars like Andre Ward, Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., and Chad Dawson to get people familiar with the next generation of boxers. Look at all of the recent people that exited boxing, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Paul Williams (Accidental), Winky Wright, and a myriad of other named boxers. Then you have Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, Antonio Tarver, Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, and Mike Tyson who are the big names that are hanging around, retired, or semi-retired and there is no real star power left in boxing.
The best case scenario is to generate some buzz by having Manny Pacquiao lose while Floyd Mayweather serves his 90 day sentence, then have Pacquiao win his belt back on November 10th in his farewell bought. Then Mayweather fights Amir Khan next year and there is some controversy surrounding it, which will lead to a re-match that Mayweather will win and retire undefeated. But, you have established Khan and Bradley as up and coming stars in the sport while Manny and Floyd retire as legends and people will always talk about what could have been if they ever fought. It’s a shame that things have to go this way, but front running fans have caused sports to become this way. A Pacquiao win would have really done nothing for boxing other than keep the same discussion going about Mayweather, and this all but eliminates that option going forward so fans can focus on something else. We will see what happens in the re-match because it’s almost certain that Manny Pacquiao will not want to end his career with a loss.