By: Sergio Martinez
As the sun rises on Sunday, many Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao fans will be hoping that it was all a bad dream.
They will open their eyes, lie in their beds and hope that today is actually Saturday June 9, 2012 and not “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Some will even zombie out of their beds, walk straight to their computers or reach for their smart phones and hastily search the Internet, hoping that the boxing headlines read “predictions” and not “split decision.”
Even though in their heart of hearts, “Pac-Man” fans are completely aware that the fight is over and the judges have spoken against their idol, the foolish hope that it was all just a bad dream lingers in their minds.
When the reading of the fight cards began, there was an eerie feeling in the air as Michael Buffer read the second scorecard. He paused for a brief second prior to announcing the card favoring Bradley. It was almost as if Buffer was not sure how to proceed. As he announced the final scorecard, a silence came over the arena…
“And the new welterweight champion of the world: Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley.”
Just like that, Pacquiao had been defeated and the “robbery” debate quickly ensued. Fans and media alike were outraged at the split decision victory favoring that Palm Springs, California native.
There were signs throughout the fight that the cards may not go Pacquiao’s way. Boxing blow-by-blow legend Jim Lampley, who called the fight ringside with Max Kellerman and Emanuel Steward, commented often during the course of the fight that Pacquiao was “taking the first two minutes of each round off and coming on in the final minute of the rounds.” Although “Pac-Man’s” activity level significantly rose in the final minute of each round, Bradley fought hard and was consistent for two thirds of each round.
If you break down the fight based on this information, Bradley was busier for 24 out of the 36 possible minutes in the 12 rounds. Whether or not he was landing solid blows or just moving his hands, Bradley appeared to be more active for two thirds of the contest. This obviously influenced 2 out of the 3 judges scoring the bout.
“Pac-Man” fans and media alike were quick to point out how, although Bradley was game and made rounds competitive throughout the contest, it was Pacquiao who picked his spots in each of the 12 rounds and landed the more concussive punches. Furthermore, it was argued that “Pac-Man” was never in any real danger during the course of the fight and even managed to hurt Bradley on a few occasions. Pacquiao fans will also reference that most of the fans, media and ringside crew calling the fight felt that their hero clearly won the fight. This, according to the dissenters, is proof of professional larceny and a disgrace to boxing.
The hypocrisy here is that the aforementioned was also the case in the third match between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez; in that instance, those same reasons were dismissed by “Pac-Man” fans as mere sour grapes by Mexican and Mexican-American fight fans who cannot accept the loss. In that third encounter, Marquez picked his spots in each of the 12 rounds and landed the more concussive punches. He managed to hurt Pacquiao on a few occasions and he was never in any real danger.
Most of the fans, media and ringside crew calling the fight felt Marquez clearly won. Yet, when the scorecards were tallied, “Pac-Man” was awarded a majority decision. Marquez and his fans were left with a second Pacquiao robbery and immense frustration as their charge had earned the throne yet lost it via a 12 round treachery.
In the end, all of the debates and arguments will not make a difference. Timothy Bradley’s resume will forever read a split decision victory and Pacquiao fans will continue to claim robbery and provide excuses as to how this impossible disgrace cannot be true. It is truly a shame for Bradley: he fought a valiant fight and never stopped trying, yet he will find himself obtaining credit for receiving a gift and not for earning a victory. The good news is that he will have another big payday in the rematch, which he truly earned and rightfully deserves.
Still, boxing remains one of the most complicated sports to accurately score. There are so many variables that can cause close, competitive rounds to go either way in the eyes of the ones stewarded to judge. This often leads to the fans of a certain boxer feeling disgusted and deciding not to follow the sport after reading the negative comments and articles produced by the boxing media. If you don’t believe me, just ask any Marquez fan or anyone that read about his majority decision loss to Pacquiao.
For the record, I had Pacquiao winning the fight 115 to 113, but there were 1 to 2 rounds which really could have gone either way.
Contact Sergio Martinez at [email protected]