Shock, disbelief and anger.
This sums up the reaction of Filipino boxing fans all over the world to Manny Pacquiao’s controversial split-decision loss to American Timothy Bradley.
Here in Michigan, Filipinos were outraged and felt cheated by the decision, airing suspicion that the fight was rigged. The match was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada last June 9.[box type=”default” size=”large”] Pinoys in Michigan feel cheated by questionable decision [/box]News reports from the Philippines, the Middle East and elsewhere stated that Filipino boxing fans were stunned after boxing announcer Michael Buffer announced the scores of the three judges with two of them giving the nod to Bradley.
They could not believe what they heard because they thought all along that Pacquiao had handily won the fight, noting HBO’s resident boxing judge Harold Lederman’s scorecard flashed every now and then on the TV screen. Lederman had Pacquiao winning the fight 119-109.
Top world’s boxing experts also shared the view that the Filipino boxer dominated the fight and beat Bradley by a comfortable margin.
A research conducted by the Filipino Star News (FSN) on various websites, blogs and online newspapers showed boxing experts scoring the fight in favor of Pacquiao. Following is the result of the FSN research:
Yahoo! Sports saw the fight 117-111 for Pacquiao; Tim Dahlberg of the AP, 117-111 for Pacquiao; Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, 117-111 for Pacquiao; Dan Rafael of ESPN, 118-110 for Pacquiao; HBO’s Harold Lederman, 119-109 for Pacquiao.
Meanwhile, sports analysts all over the world reacted sharply to the questionable decision. Following are their comments:
British sportswriter Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph described it as “one of boxing’s great robberies.”
Brent Brookhouse of SB Nation said he had watched a lot of boxing in his life and had seen “his fair share of robberies. But Timothy Bradley getting the nod over Manny Pacquiao in a fight that Pacquiao appeared to have clearly won makes no sense in the typical line of boxing thinking.” .
“A black eye for the entire sport,” Ramses Alvarez, a correspondent of Team Stream, wrote on BleacherReport.com. “How could judges give rounds to Bradley where he was outpunched and outworked? How can so many people see a fight one way and have those who ultimately matter see it completely the opposite.”
Bob Velin of USA Today reported that in an informal survey of boxing writers, all had Pacquiao “comfortably ahead.”
In its round by round analysis, The Los Angeles Times scored the fight 117-111 for Pacquiao, giving Bradley only three of the 12 rounds.
Graham Parker of Britain’s The Guardian and Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook also arrived at the same score in favor of Pacquiao.
ESPN’s panel of boxing experts were unanimous in awarding the fight to Pacquiao. Rafael had it 119-109, Kieran Mulvaney, 117-111, and Brett Okamoto, 116-112, in favor of the Filipino.
Gordon Marino of The Daily Fix, a sports blog for The Wall Street Journal, scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao.
So did Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “I’m a little stunned … I don’t think Bradley landed enough shots to win. Manny gobbled up a lot of his punches,” he stated in his blog. “This was a bad decision. Pacquiao won the fight on my card, HBO’s card and virtually everyone else’s card.”
Bob Arum, the fight’s promoter, said he gave 10 rounds to Pacquiao and only two to Bradley.
According to Arum, Bradley’s own manager, Cameron Dunkin, told him that Pacquiao must have won at least eight rounds.
Even Bradley himself seemed “unconvinced” he won the fight, ESPN’s Rafael wrote in his blog.
USA Today’s Velin reported that the newly crowned WBO welterweight champion showed up at the post-fight press conference in a wheelchair after breaking an ankle—and perhaps also the other—during the fight.
“Which makes what happened on his title fight against Manny Pacquiao even more unbelievable,” Velin wrote.
“Timothy Bradley was outboxed and outpowered by Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night, yet was somehow awarded a split decision that again shocked the boxing world,” The Guardian’s Parker wrote.
“It was a verdict that disgusted many of the assembled experts at ringside and virtually all of the heavily pro-Pacquiao crowd. As the scorecards were read, the boos started … and didn’t let up through the postfight interviews with a visibly sheepish Bradley.”
In an informal survey by ESPN, 87 percent of the respondents said Pacquiao won the fight and only 13 percent said Bradley did.
Davies of The Telegraph said there was a huge negative reaction to the split decision on Twitter.
Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis tweeted: “Unbelievable! PacBradley. This is another stain on boxing. Even worse than my draw with Holyfield! Disgraceful.”
Amir Khan, Pacquiao’s stablemate who had been refused fights by Bradley, tweeted: What a robbery. Bradley did not win this fight. The crowd are booing … What a joke. We had Manny winning by 5 rounds.”
“Was Timothy Bradley’s split-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao fair? Australia’s Daily Telegraph asked in an informal poll. Seventy-five percent of the respondents said, “No.”
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com said that few seemed to agree with the two judges—C. J. Ross and Duane Ford—who both scored it 115-113 for Bradley. The third judge, Jerry Roth, had Pacquiao winning by the same score.
“Jim Lampley who calls the fight for HBO said this is the single worst decision he’s ever seen. That’s a big, big statement,” said Rafael.
Sports Illustrated’s Bryan Armen Graham labeled Bradley’s win as an “injustice.”
He cited punch statistics indicating Pacquiao dominated Bradley in terms of volume punching. Pacquiao connected on 253 of 751 punches (34 percent), compared to 159 of 839 (19 percent) for Bradley, and outlanded the challenger in 10 of the 12 rounds.
Graham admitted, though, that in boxing, such verdict is nothing out of the ordinary.
“Injustices like the split decision that gave Timothy Bradley a controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday are not unusual in boxing,” he said.
Forbes.com contributor Patrick Rishe said that the questionable results of the fight hurt the integrity of the sport.
Rishe said Bradley’s win only fueled speculations that a rematch was already set prior the actual fight.
“It’s these sorts of results that make skeptics of us all. Make us wonder if someone within the sport thought they could drum up greater interest in a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch if Pacquiao lost the first bout. Seems far-fetched, but in light of the circumstances I wouldn’t blame anyone that draws this conclusion,” he said.
More experts criticized the incompetent scoring by judges Duane Ford, CJ Ross and Jerry Roth. They included former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, HBO analyst Mad Max Kellerman, unbeaten super middleweight ruler Andre Ward and USA Olympic team members Dominic Breazeale and Michael Hunter.
Compubox fight stats showed Pacquiao connecting with 253 blows to only 159 for Bradley. The stats showed Pacman landing 34 percent of his punches, while Bradley landed just 19 percent. For power punches connected, Pacquiao’s numerical edge was 190 to 108.
The Michael Marley White Gorilla official scoring was 119-109 in favor of the Filipino idol.
“I feel happy for Tim, he came to fight, I am glad for him but Manny won the fight, I scored it either 118-110 or 117-111 so it was clear to me that Pacquaio deserved to win it,” Ward said.
“I can’t see that decision,” Holyfield told UK Daily Mail columnist Jeff Powell. “You’ve got to take the title away from the champion, and I did not see Bradley do that.”
Kellerman said he broke it down 8-4 in rounds in Pacquiao’s favor.
“I gave Tim the benefit of the doubt in giving him four rounds,” the cable TV network interviewer/analyst said.
Video journalist Elie Seckbach saw the fight the same way, with Pacquiao winning eight of the 12 rounds.
London Olympic competitors Brazeale, a super heavyweight who will carry the USA banner in the Summer Games, and heavyweight Hunter were both openly rooting for their fellow American, Bradley. But they agreed that the victory was stolen from Pacquiao.