By Jake Donovan
A wide array of comments followed Monday’s announcement that Top Rank submitted a formal request with the Nevada Attorney General’s office for an investigation regarding last Saturday’s bout between Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley was the recipient of a split decision win that was met with enough backlash to where Top Rank felt it necessary to take a deeper look into the circumstances surrounding the scoring. Judge Jerry Roth had Pacquiao winning 115-113, while officials Duane Roth and CJ Ross had Bradley winning by that same margin.
The evening marked the second straight fight in which Pacquiao landed in the middle of a scoring debate. A chorus of boos met the announcement of his winning a majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez last November, though in a fight where the overwhelming consensus didn’t have either fighter winning by a wide margin.
This time around, the number of people who had Bradley actually winning paled in comparison to those who not only had Pacquiao ahead but dominating the 12-round welterweight fight.
Therein lies the difference in why Top Rank felt that a deeper look was necessary..
“You can’t do this if this was a close fight,” admits Bob Arum, Top Rank CEO and Hall of Fame promoter. “If this was a close fight like Pac-Marquez, where it could go one point either way - that’s a judgment call and you live with the decision.
“But this fight was so one-sided, to have two judges score it for the guy who clearly got beat and one judge have it close, defies explanation.”
Two of the three judges attempted to explain their scores. Roth expressed his belief that effective aggression was key in Pacquiao building an early enough lead to where Bradley’s late rally was too little, too late.
Ford’s belief that “Bradley gave Pacquiao a boxing lesson” was far more opinion-based, not to mention unethical for a judge to state on the record as taught during his own ABC judging seminars. Aside from a scorecard that had Bradley winning the fight, Arum was more concerned over what he believes to be self-righteous remarks.
“That’s voodoo judging,” Arum insists. “That’s someone who is saying that he and only he can see what’s going on. I’m no expert but how I score a fight is that you look at who’s landing the most punches, and whose punches are the most authorative. 11 out 12 rounds, that was Pacquiao.”
Oddly enough, the evening’s biggest victim – Pacquiao, whose 15 fight win streak came to an end – was the least vocal regarding the outcome. Rather than vow to turn the sport on its heels, the former eight-division champ and long running box-office and pound-for-pound king acted in the manner of a true ambassador of the sport.
“He was terrific, there was no whining on his part at all,” Arum acknowledged of his superstar fighter. “He stated the obvious that he thought he won the fight, but also gave Bradley full credit for offering a great effort. I couldn’t have been prouder in the way Manny handled himself.”
The promoter was far less impressed with how the situation was handled by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, thus his insistence on digging deeper to find out if there is anything behind the scenes that needs to come to light.
“The Nevada commission takes ownership of the fight. Yet when the fight is over and those scores are announced, they run for the hills. The public deserves to know all of the facts pertaining to the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. They have to interrogate everyone - including myself and the promotion. The facts have to come out, no matter who you are.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].