by Ronnie Nathanielsz
While the Philippine National Police reported hardly any crimes were committed as Filipinos across the country were glued to television sets watching “Fighter of the Decade" Manny Pacquiao battle undefeated junior welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, a heinous crime was committed by two of the three judges who gifted Bradley with a twelve round split decision that was condemned around the world.
Judges CJ Ross and Duane Ford scored the fight 115-113 for Bradley while the third judge Jerry Roth had Pacquiao the winner by the identical 115-113 margin.
The crowd received the decision with shock and continued to boo even as Bradley was being interviewed after the fight.
The Compubox stats which are unofficial and are mainly used as a guide by the media, showed Pacquiao way ahead in both punches thrown and connected and power punches thrown and landed.
The eight division world champion landed a total of 253 of 751 punches while Bradley landed 159 of 839 which showed a wide disparity both in terms of numbers and percentages in favor of.Pacquiao. In power punches Pacquiao landed 190 of 493 while Bradley landed just 108 of 390.
The world, not just Filipinos were angered by the decision with Oscar De La Hoya himself who was pulverized by Pacquiao and quit on his stool after the 7th round stating in a tweet “Bradley should have given the belt and announced victory to Pacquiao right after the decision.”
World Boxing Council president Don Jose Sulaiman who watched the fight with the WBC board of governors in Mexico City told us “during the 67 years of my life in boxing I have never seen such a theft as the one perpetrated against Manny Pacquiao. I call it the theft of the century and I am embarrassed for the whole sport of boxing.”
Sulaiman who is steeped in the sport said “I saw Manny win nine rounds clearly while the three that I saw him lose could have been even, I am shamed, profoundly ashamed. I just cannot understand it. It is a matter of deep concern.”
Singing star Justin Timberlake tweeted, “boxing was ruined tonight for me” while late night show host Jimmy Kimmel who often guests Pacquiao on his show said “Paula Abdul would have done a better job judging.”
While there was a flood of messages through social media networks lambasting the judges and the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Pacquiao remained his usual gracious and humble self as he set a new standard of decency for a loser saying “I respect the decision but I believe 100 percent that I won the fight. The fans in their heart know who won the fight. He hit me with a couple of jabs, but I don’t even remember him hitting me a solid punch in my face and — amazing what the result is.”
Pacquiao displayed a tinge of disappointment over Bradley’s tactics of refusing to engage and fighting a defensive fight when he said “I watched his fights, he was an aggressive fighter. But tonight he kept on running and running. I thought he was going toe-to- toe.”
Bradley who said right after the decision was announced “Manny’s a beast. He’s got fast hands, he hurt me a couple of times in the fight” promised to giver Pacquiao a rematch as he deserved it after having given him a chance of a lifetime.
Bradley earned $5 million plus a share of the pay per view revenues once the numbers come in while Pacquiao earned a guaranteed $6 million plus a reported additional $20 million spread over 90 days.
Bradley didn’t wish to engage in a protracted discussion about the decision, preferring to point to the judges. He said “There’s three judges out there and that’s the way they judged it, so I mean, what do you want me to do? You know what I mean? That’s the way they judged it. My corner felt we were winning the fight. I was controlling the action. But like I said, there was three judges out there. Two of them felt I won the fight and that’s all I can say on that.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who stands to make a lot of money in a rematch which Bradley had previously predicted would take place on November 10, was incensed and referred to the judges as “three blind mice.”
He said “it was a ridiculous decision. You guys all know who won this fight. So let’s be honest about the situation. Hopefully we’ll revisit it in November….I hope boxing recovers, because this isn’t arguing about a close decision. This is something that’s an absurdity, that’s ridiculous, and everybody that’s involved in boxing should feel ashamed.”
Fox Sports Scott Sawitz stated “One thing is abundantly clear about all this. There needs to be an investigation into all involved immediately.” Amidst a slew of allegations of a “fix” Sawitz said Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer needs to launch more than a cursory investigation into all of this” after TV commentator Teddy Atlas spoke about possible corruption.
Pacquiao hurt Bradley with his left on several occasions during the fight and it was only the superb condition of Bradley and his ability to grab and hold when in trouble that saved him from being knocked down.
A short left straight in the opening round gave Bradley an indication of what he was facing and another left straight plus a right-left combination by Pacquiao in the following round saw Bradley backing off.
Pacquiao clearly hurt Bradley in round three with another powerful left and in round four Bradley was warned by referee Robert Byrd for a low blow even as Pacquiao nailed Bradley and hurt and wobbled him towards the end of the round.
Pacquiao comfortably took rounds five and six and when Bradley refused to engage and instead back-pedaled Pacquiao urged him to pick up the action saying “come on boy.”
A furious exchange in round nine plus Bradley’s best round in ten when Pacquiao eased up saw trainer Freddie Roach tell Pacquiao during the break “you let that round go.”
As Pacquiao tried to pick up the tempo, a wary Bradley backed off, depending on occasional flurries that caught Pacquiao mostly on his forearm elbows or gloves although he appeared to be the more active fighter in the so-called championship rounds.