Paquiao Bradley promoter Bob Arum calls for investigation–just to make it look good

News that boxing promoter Bob Arum is calling for an investigation on the Paquiao-Bradley split decision, and refusing to grant a rematch until the Nevada Attorney General’s office makes an inquiry, should come as no surprise.

You’d be calling for an investigation too if you had a record of bribery and suspected corruption like Arum that goes back to 1995. 

Arum’s record, of course, is old news. But the shocking results of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, where such an obvious winner is declared a loser, makes the past suddenly relevant again, if only to let everyone realize who we are dealing with and the kind of “sport” professional boxing has become.

A call for an investigation merely takes a little heat off Arum and lets the world know he appears to be just as outraged over the  controversial split decision as any sane unbiased observer of the fight. .

Never mind that Arum’s still likely to make millions no matter what happens in the aftermath.  As the promoter of  both Pacquiao and Bradley, he’s no different from a bookie or a hedge fund manager, who balances his books and profits either way. He can’t lose.

Conflict of interest is just part of the professional game. Boxing promotion is as close to a monopoly as it gets. And if it wasn’t, what do you get? Don King? If  the state of boxing  didn’t bother us before the weekend, maybe it shouldn’t bother us now.  

That only works if you can separate the seamy business side of boxing from the actual sport, the fight between two opponents going at each other.

Some of us really are interested not in the betting and the money side, but in the “sweet science,” the sport of boxing.  And that’s where some of us finally realized this weekend it really can’t be done.

We saw the fight.  So did the judges,  who scored it 115-113.

Judge Jerry Roth called it for Pacquiao.

Duane Ford and C.J. Ross called it for Bradley.

I’ve watched fights and studied boxing. I know a jab from a hook.  Incompetence in athletic judging is nothing new. I’ve mentioned the French Olympic skating judges. It comes up even in legitimate sports. In the PacBradley fight, three of the judges were over 70. No age discrimination from me. But this is where subjectivity appears, and where generational  differences come into play as to boxing judging standards. New computer stats that show actual punches thrown and landed are supposed to smooth out the subjectivity and take away the guess work. By those numbers, Pacquiao landed at least 100 more punches than Bradley.  Pacquiao’s display in the fourth and fifth rounds were enough to give him the decision. Bradley never came close to performing at that level.

Those who bring up Pacquaio’s victorious fights with Juan Manuel Marquez and say Marquez should have won them are comparing apples to oranges. Those were actual close fights and really could have gone either way. No complaint from me. Those were razor close.

The Pacquiao Bradley fight was not 115-113 close. Not in Bradley’s favor.

Before the fight, there was some talk about why these three judges in particular were called in for this fight. Just their luck? Commentators were surprised that more experienced judges weren’t called in.

Still, any calls for some kind of investigation on the judges and the judging process seem all for show at this point.

I don’t expect anything to happen to change a thing. In a few weeks, all this will be conveniently forgotten and more pay-per-view matches will be scheduled.

Just not with my hard-earned money.

Will they take yours?

See also previous posts on and on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.