By Francisco Salazar
"It was not a hard fight to score," was the consensus talk amongst media and boxing fans after the Timothy Bradley-Diego Chaves fight.
It looked as though it might have been for two judges.
Timothy Bradley and Diego Chaves fought to a 12 round split decision at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.
It was the type of decision that left more questions than answer, but gave boxing fans more reason to criticize judges' scorecards than anything else.
Bradley was rebounding from his first defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision on April 12 in Las Vegas. Chaves was trying to bounce back from his 9th round disqualification loss to Brandon Rios on August 2.
From the opening bell, the action was brisk between Bradley and Chaves. Bradley used his quick hands and lateral movement to beat Chaves to the punch.
While both were on the inside, accidental head-butts occurred between the two fighters. It was evident in the second round, as their were at least two head clashes. A cut opened over the right eye of Chaves, while Bradley's eye closed as his cheekbone began to swell.
"There was a lot of head butts early on then he landed good right hands," Bradley said after the fight. "I felt it. Solid right hands that made it well. I can see fine."
Both fighters traded brutal punches in the fourth round, although Bradley landed the more effective punches. During the middle rounds, Bradley boxed effectively, moving in and out of Chaves' punching range, landing rights to the head. Chaves' left eye was beginning to close from the impact of the punches.
The pace of the fight slowed down, but Bradley continued to outbox Chaves during most of the exchanges. Chaves tried to find a way to counter Bradley, even throwing repeated jabs to the head of Bradley. But Bradley just beat Chaves to the punch, even during the championship rounds.
One judge scored the bout 115-113 for Bradley, another scored it 116-112 for Chaves, while the third judge scored it 114-114.
"I'm not going to say it was horrible but I'm not a judge," said Bradley, who thinks he might have suffered a fracture in his left cheekbone. "I maybe give him four rounds, max five at that. I was landing clean punches and felt like I won the fight."
Chaves was more reserved in defeat.
"I thought it was a pretty even fight," said Chaves after the fight. "We needed a little bit more to take the victory back to Argentina."
Bradley, from Palm Springs, California, goes to 31-1-1, 12 KOs. Chaves, from San Miguel, Argentina, drops to 23-2-1, 19 KOs.