Monday, June 11, 2012

Pacquiao-Bradley...Something's Rotten In Boxing

Saturday, in the world welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, was a strange, ugly moment in the history of boxing. Timothy Bradley won a split decision over Manny Pacquiao. But Pacquiao clearly won the fight. There wasn't any doubt. You could even tell that Bradley, by his body language and manner, knew he lost.

But judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford gave the fight to Bradley. Only Jerry Roth scored in favor of Pacquiao, and that was by a hair, 115-113. What fight were they watching? Ford is 74 years old. Are his eyes are failing? He certainly didn't see the fight the way the rest of us saw it. This was a truly horrible decision.

I watched a tape of the fight. No question, Pacquiao won seven rounds, 3 through 9.  Being very generous, you might have scored rounds 1, 2, 11 and 12 for Bradley. Only round 10 unquestionably belonged to Bradley. At the worst, Pacquiao should have won because he dominated seven of the 12 rounds.

My expert fight-fan friends, all veteran Pacquiao watchers, tell me that he not only won the fight, but rank it among the top five performances of his career.

Going into the fight, Pacquiao was a 4-1 favorite over Bradley, who was unbeaten at 28-0. A very good fighter, Bradley was in tip-top shape. Pacquiao, a great fighter, wasn't in his best shape. At 33, he's coming off a wobbly win last November against Juan Marquez. Is Pacquiao, some were asking, slipping? Based on the Saturday fight, he's not. He schooled Bradley. At times, it looked like Pacquiao was even toying with his opponent. It wasn't even that close. Though Pacquiao looked a bit winded at the end of the fight, he was definitely in charge.

Bradley's victory points to a rematch in November. Or does it? Now that's in question because of the sour taste left by this one. What's worse, the fight that everyone's waiting for, Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr., is pushed even farther back.

So what's the motive for this strange decision? There doesn't seem to be an obvious one. No one seemingly stands to gain from a Pacquiao loss. There's only one place to look. Corruption, a festering sore forever in boxing, flares up again. As usual, in the history of terrible decisions, you can point to meddling by crooked gamblers.
Some people made a lot of money betting on underdog Bradley. Two of my sources, who are tuned into the gambling underbelly, very cautiously hint at in involvement by some bigtime gamblers. How was it done? Payoffs to judges?

You can bet nobody's talking. But, no surprise, something's rotten in boxing.