Strange events preceded tonight’s fight between challenger Timothy Bradley and WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The previous bout featuring Jorge Arce and Jesus Rojas was ruled a no contest in the second round on a series of illegal blows by Rojas.
Then Manny Pacquaio went on a walkabout and left Bradley waiting for him as he watched the Boston Celtics lose to the Miami Heat and stretched his calves on a treadmill to relax.
Finally, the unimaginable happened.
Timothy Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) was awarded a split decision win over the Pacman (54-4-2, 38 KOs) in a fight that many felt the champion appeared to win.
The scores were all 115-113, two for Bradley from judges CJ Ross and Duane Ford, and one for Pacquiao from Jerry Roth.
Boxing Insider likewise had it 115-113 for the Pacman.
Those watching the HBO pay-per-view telecast may have been swayed by that announcing crew’s heavily biased pro-Pacquiao commentary from the first round on.
The Filipino now ex-champion definitely dominated the fight’s first half, but appeared to tire in the second and Bradley began to win rounds in the latter stages.
It appeared to be too little, too late, for Bradley, but two of the three judges thought otherwise.
Ironically, it was Pacquiao who many felt benefited from a flawed decision last time out against Juan Manuel Marquez.
This time, the shoe is on the other foot, and the Pacman and his fans are left wondering how he lost a fight they were convinced he had clearly won.