Timothy Bradley doesn’t believe Teofimo Lopez should have had his hands raised last Thursday night.

Lopez, the former unified lightweight champion from Brooklyn, New York, successfully defended his WBO 140-pound title against Jamaine Ortiz at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, but neither fighter likely gained any fans after a 12-round bout lambasted by most observers and fans for being relentlessly boring. The scores were 115-113, 115-113, and 117-111, all in favor of Lopez.

Bradley, a former champion and current ESPN analyst, had a close-up view of the contest as he provided commentary during the ESPN telecast. He and Lopez have butted heads over the years. Lopez has long accused Bradley of providing biased commentary, while Bradley, who has claimed Lopez was "dog food" in the 140-pound division, has not been shy about criticizing aspects of Lopez's fighting ability as well as his behavior outside the ring.

In a subsequent interview after the fight, Bradley made it clear that he thought Ortiz deserved to win based on what he felt was Ortiz’s “ring generalship.” Ortiz fought in the southpaw stance for the entirety of the fight and seldom allowed Lopez to carry out a sustained offense. At the same time, Ortiz himself hardly landed any punches.

“The reason why Ortiz won the fight, he controlled every aspect of the fight,” Bradley told ProBoxTV. “He’s the one that made the fight what it was. Look, a lot of punches weren’t thrown and landed. I can probably count on both hands how many punches landed between the two and I’m talking about effective punches.

“A lot of these rounds were judged on the second criterion of the scoring. It’s called effective aggression. What does that mean? You think that you gotta be aggressive coming on your front foot. No, you don’t. You can be aggressive on your back foot, making the guy miss, making him pay with counters, and that’s exactly what Ortiz did. It’s called being the ring general.”

Bradley pointed to the example of Shakur Stevenson, the lightweight titlist, as someone who can control a fight by fighting off the backfoot. Bradley argued that Stevenson did exactly that in his last bout against Edwin De Los Santos—a fight that many people criticized for the same reasons as Lopez vs. Ortiz.

“There weren’t a whole lot of punches thrown (between Lopez and Ortiz),” Bradley said. “But there were more punches thrown than there was Shakur Stevenson-De Los Santos. You know, Shakur fought off his backfoot a lot. Ortiz stood his ground in spots. Ortiz even, even, when Lopez was [motioning] him to the corner, he said, ‘OK, I’ll come in the corner. I’ll beat you up a little bit more and I’ll get back on my gameplan.’

“You could see who had the strategy going into the fight from the first round. It was Ortiz. He was the ring general, the ring genius throughout the night. So, if you can’t score a round [based] on clean punches thrown, then you score it on who is the ring general. Let’s go back to the De Los Santos fight, the ring general was Shakur. He was the ring general. He was fighting when he wanted to fight on his terms. The same thing was here.”

Bradley chalked up the result of Lopez vs. Ortiz to politics, saying that Ortiz, a the B-fighter, simply did not get the benefit of the doubt.

“The problem was, Jamaine’s name isn’t Sugar Ray Leonard, it’s not Shakur Stevenson, it’s not Floyd Mayweather,” Bradley said. “It’s the fact that his name is Ortiz. That’s what it is. He’s not the house [fighter]. He’s not bringing money and electricity to boxing. Guess who is? Lopez is, and that’s the reason why he got the decision. That’s the only reason why he got the decision.”  

“We don’t score fights on damage” Bradley continued. “That’s MMA. You guys (Pro Box TV hosts Chris Algieri and Paulie Malignaggi) sound like you’re scoring it on damage. You’re talking about how Lopez didn’t have a scratch on him.”

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.