By Keith Idec
Opinions appear to vary as to whether people think Manny Pacquiao’s controversial loss to Jeff Horn on Sunday was as suspect as his split-decision defeat to Timothy Bradley five years ago.
Bob Arum, whose company promotes Pacquiao and co-promotes Horn, doesn’t think the decisions are comparable. ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas vehemently disagrees.
Bradley – who worked ESPN’s broadcast alongside Atlas, his trainer – thinks Pacquiao did enough to earn a victory in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. But Bradley believes Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach and Arum, who also promotes Bradley, didn’t dispute the decision the way they did when Bradley beat Pacquiao because they all feel the Pacquiao-Horn fight was very close.
“The reason why they’re OK with this decision is Manny Pacquiao tonight did show his age, at 38 years of age,” Bradley told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Steve Levy following the fight. “He showed his age tonight. Horn was out. He was out in I think it was the eighth or ninth round [the ninth]. Pacquiao had him hurt, but then, the next round after that, you saw Pacquiao laying off the gas pedal. You saw Horn come on the next two rounds, might’ve stole the next two rounds in this fight.
“You know, he put up a great, great fight. I don’t think he won the fight. Honestly, I don’t think he won the fight. But I can tell you, he did enough in there to make it look like he won the fight. Manny Pacquiao was bleeding. You know, blood was dripping down in his eyes. It looked like a ‘Rocky’ show, but you know what? Horn got the victory tonight.”
Unlike the night Bradley upset Pacquiao at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, all three judges scored Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) the winner over the 38-year-old Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs).
New York’s Woleska Roldan scored nine of the 12 rounds for the 29-year-old Horn (117-111). Argentina’s Ramon Cerdan and Arizona’s Chris Flores both scored seven rounds for Horn (115-113).
In the first Pacquiao-Bradley bout, two judges – Duane Ford and C.J. Ross – scored seven rounds for Bradley (115-113). The third judge that night, Jerry Roth, scored seven rounds for Pacquiao (115-113).
While the scorecards favored Horn on Sunday more than Bradley five years ago, Pacquiao’s advantages over Horn and Bradley in unofficial CompuBox production is comparable, just four punches apart. Counting punches in real time is a difficult, inexact science, but the comparison is at least worth noting.
On Sunday, CompuBox credited Pacquiao for connecting with 182-of-573 overall punches, 90 more during their 12-round fight than Horn (92-of-625). According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 50 more power punches (123-of-380 to 73-of-428) and 40 more jabs (59-of-193 to 19-of-197) than Horn.
In June 2012, CompuBox recorded 253-of-751 punches landed overall for Pacquiao, 94 more than Bradley (159-of-839). CompuBox also credited Pacquiao with connecting on 82 more power punches (190-of-493 to 108-of-390) and 12 more jabs (63-of-258 to 51-of-449) than Bradley.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.