You don’t really have to know boxing to understand that Timothy Bradley, Jr. did not win that fight against WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao.
If you were one of the millions who plunked down their hard-earned cash to watch a “fight,” you could see it with your own eyes. Bradley was handed the championship belt, as if it were a pre-scripted fantasy. Or maybe the New Wrestling.
Before the decision was handed, it was a decent enough show. Pacquiao, the more experienced champ landed more punches and completely outclassed the younger Bradley, who tried to keep up with Pacquiao, but rarely got to him. Bradley did get in some body punches, especially while holding Pacquiao, but there was nothing from Bradley that appeared to stagger or even pose a threat to Pacquiao. Indeed, throughout the fight, Bradley’s trainer, by his use of the “F” word, seemed frustrated by his fighter’s inability to take the fight to Pacquiao. Bradley threw a lot of punches, but he also missed a lot. Meanwhile, Pacquiao was able to land his straight left against Bradley that staggered him again and again.
In my most charitable assessment, I didn’t see Bradley win one round. Bradley did nothing to Pacquiao that was close to the pounding Pacquiao put on Bradley in the fourth and fifth rounds.
But the judges saw it differently and gave the fight to Bradley.
Maybe this was boxing’s “affirmative action.”
Athletic judging is after all, subjective. We know this from watching Olympic skating judges from France.
There’s always the plausibility of an implausible result. Injustice happens.
Still, there are enough real injustices in the world to care about instead of this one, where Pacquiao reportedly got over $20 million for this fight to Bradley’s $5. (Nevermind what the judges might or might not get. All I can think of is the odds must have been so good on Bradley, and all the money bet on Pacquiao, that certain gambling interests just couldn’t resist a massive score.)
In a previous column on the fight, I had suggested that this be Manny Pacquiao’s last fight. Considering what boxing does to your brain, and with all the other interests Pacquiao has in politics, religion, and show business, leaving the ring now just sounded like a good exit strategy—before anyone gets hurt.
For Pacquiao’s sake, I wanted this fight to be his last. I just didn’t think it would be my last fight.
They’re already talking about Pacquiao Bradley II, to correct the injustice, and to, of course, enrich a few boxing promoters. (Ever wonder how Bob Arum has a piece of both fighters? It makes his claim of being ashamed for the sport ring very, very hollow.)
Sorry, boxing. As Roberto Duran would say, “No mas.”
I’ll be back when the game gets a massive infusion of integrity.