Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pacquiao-Bradley Review

It was a nice little Sunday, on October 16, 2004. It hadn't gotten too cold yet in Chestnut Hill, although my friends from the left coast would swear to you otherwise. YOUR New York Yankees had just finished obliterating the Boston Red Sox, taking a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. Hideki Matsui hit two moonshots, and was joined by Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield in the long-bomb department. Legendary Boston sportswriter Bob Ryan called it "an official death sentence."

I remember being on the phone with irregular MAMBINO contributor TuckRule late that night. I said that winning Game 4 was an absolute must, because if the Red Sox were to prevail, they would push it to Game 7 in the Bronx. He laughed at me, of course. But then came the fourth game, when Dave Roberts stole second base, eventually forcing extras with the tying run, and when David Ortiz walked off to make the series 3-1. It was that one moment where at least a little bit of yourself asked whether the opponent could come back.

I felt the exact same way on Saturday night, when the first judge scored the fight in favor of Manny Pacquiao, 115-113. Was it really that close? HBO's Harold Lederman scored it 119-109. ESPN's Dan Rafael had it the same. The people in my apartment gave two rounds, tops, to Timothy Bradley. But the first official scorecard gave FIVE rounds to the man who was jelly-legging his way to the finish? How could this be?

I stand up during Manny Pacquiao fights. They make me nervous. When Juan Manuel Marquez counterpunched his way to what seemed like a true draw, I anticipated Michael Buffer reading the official scorecards with the same anxiety I feel when I'm about to take a penalty kick in soccer.

This time, I actually sat down during the 7th round. This one was in the bag, and for the rest of the fight, I wanted to enjoy some good prizefighting and hopefully see Manny clinch it with a knockout left punch. I pondered the possible Facebook statuses, and thought about which one would get the most Likes. I was preparing to tweet at Bernard Hopkins, who said that Pacquiao could never defeat an African-American fighter. KOBEsh, on his way back from Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, even texted me in disbelief that the fight went the full 12 rounds. But when Pacquiao had won the first card by winning only seven measly rounds to Bradley's five, that anxious feeling came rushing back. The trembling culminated in full-on shock when Buffer read the final two scorecards that gave Bradley the split decision victory.

It took a while to discuss the moment with those whom I had watched this tragedy, but when words finally came out, I realized that this was a no-win situation.

Yeah. This girl is not getting beat.
In other sports, if you score more baskets, goals, runs, etc., you win the game. Plain and simple. There can be some controversy that leads to how points were scored, but ultimately, the loser can chalk up his loss to a myriad other things besides controversial calls. Boxing is the complete opposite. Unless the referee or the opposing fighter has a say in stopping the fight, three judges are left to their own judgment has to who wins. Each round produces a winner and loser based on how things look, which feels much like a beauty pageant.

But even in beauty pageants, if the frontrunner answers all the hypothetical questions correctly and with grace, if the frontrunner lays the smackdown on her fashion attire choices, and if the frontrunner flat out looks better than all of her opponents, she wins. And if she doesn't, then Donald Trump fires the judges.

Obviously, there is nothing good that comes out of the most controversial decision in boxing history itself. But what about what happens next? Pacquiao says he's ready for the rematch, and why wouldn't he be? He was never hurt during the entire fight, save for bleeding from the mouth when HE BIT HIS OWN TONGUE. But a rematch doesn't do anything to save what happened.

If Pacquiao obliterates Bradley on November 10th, which I fully expect him to do, it won't change the fact that he lost this past weekend. If Bradley ekes out another victory, which he'll have to move heaven and earth to do, then I'll be admonishing the sport for even allowing this fight to happen. And as Floyd Mayweather sits in his cell, what exactly would behoove him to take on the Fighting Pride of the Philippines in the one matchup that would actually save boxing?

Not once did Desert Storm land a shot like this.
ESPN analyst and longtime boxing trainer Teddy Atlas spoke about how the decision exemplified the corruption in boxing. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who had both horses in this race, called the judges "old f*cks who don't realize what the hell they're looking at." Even Bradley himself, according to Arum, admitted that he didn't beat Pacquiao, and that he'd have to watch the tape to see if he won.

To see if he won!? If you feel like you won a fight, you don't need to look at tape. It's exactly how Marquez felt. Why go back to this if there's nothing that can change the result?

It gets worse.

Arum seemed to be incensed with the result, but interestingly dropped this line:
I have both guys, and I'll make a lot of money in the rematch, but it's ridiculous.
The possibility of collusion to get to this result stings me far more than the mosquito bites that have feasted on me whenever I have left my apartment in the past week. But what hurts even more is the possibility that our beloved Filipino fighter might have been in on it. I can't believe this to be true, but when the word controversy enters into the frame, there's no limit to the conspiracy theories. I detailed in my preview post how Manny's newfound devotion to religion may have shown that he just doesn't want it as much. But if he had a hand in this, then he will stand as one of the biggest hypocrites to ever speak with a Bible in tow (which is saying something, since there have been a lot of them).

If Manny okayed this result, it will still be a robbery. Not a robbery of an easy Pacquiao win, but a robbery of our hearts. We live and die with sport; we eventually come to grips if "best" isn't good enough. But when the human element gives "best" the middle finger, we are left with nothing. Our balls are as blue as when we decide to watch a beauty pageant.



  1. what a stupid arse bitch article. Manny in this? WTF, retard.

  2. Manny did not accept the results. At the end of the day, all of us who made bets in favor of Manny are the ones who lost. Those Judges should be fired!

  3. hmm interesting theory. I could see a person becoming more corrupt after entering a life of politics and religiosity.

  4. Those three judges are idiots!!!!!!

  5. Good article, and an interesting angle to take! Good journalism.

    While I still prefer boxing to MMA as a spectacle, you have to admire the way tournaments such as the UFC are run.

    In the UFC, it is the audience who are the benefactors. How, the belts are controlled by the organisation, and the current holders are instructed to fight according to the rankings.

    In boxing - its the boxers, or rather their management who are in control. The result is that boxers match their financial return by picking non-fights to extend their career and the boxing organisations are incentivised to corrupt the results to create a spectacle

    Boxing needs to take back control, and have a very transparent system so we can see who needs to fight who, with the penalty being you forfeit if you decline the fight. Judges also need to be more accountable and their decisions more transparent - in the last few years there have been too many irregularities for the good of boxing.

  6. Eventhough I am a Pacquiao fan and believe he is one of the two best fighters in the sport, I had the fight 115-113(Pacquiao winning) b/c I watched the fight w/o bias and listening to the crowd & Lampley 2 help me decide if a punch actually landed. I have suspected compu-box for being off a few timz but am very persuaded they were off in this fight. I was counting the punches either fighter was landing and missing (one in this round and the other in the next round)and they were full of STUFF on Saturday night. I absolutely believe arum had sumthin 2 do with this. he is worse than don king. he had everything 2 gain from this. I actually think it had sumthin 2 do with (arum, not Pacquiao) avoiding a very likely Mayweather fight in November be it for their personal beefs and hatred of each other (arum & Floyd) or whatever the reason. But for the record, the fight was a lot closer than Lederman and most had it. It is easy 2 c what u think should happen or want 2 happen when u let your bias and/or emotions rule your mind. I like 2 watch the fight for what it is and not what I want. Watch this fight w/o the sound and be unbiased and c what u think. I hope Manny didn't have anything 2 do with this..I really do. U know when u hear all the rumors as 2 how much control arum has over Manny for different reasons, I just don't know. I also c a double standard when it comes 2 ppl doggin Floyd (eventho he makes it easy @ times) for things he does but ignore the reports (even from his own land) that he is (was) a big gambler, womanizer (whore-chasing as my dad would call, drinking a lot, staying out all night and hurting his wife (emotionally) to the point she is seen publicly crying and speaking out about her problems and wanting a divorce. Yet we want to c him as squeaky clean. Regardless of which way it goes or comes, it is unjust. I just get sic of the biases. It is worse than the judging. By the way, this was not nearly as bad as when they gave Holyfield the win over Lennox Lewis in their first fight. Pacquiao never even almost dropped Bradley or hurt him enuf 2 make him stop throwing (and landing rather they were light or not)punches.