Everyone at ringside had the fight for Manny Pacquiao—everyone except two of the three judges who ruled otherwise.
And that was how the Filipino champion lost his WBO welterweight title to American Timothy Bradley in a controversial split decision that a British sportswriter, Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph, described as “one of boxing’s great robberies.”
In his postfight analysis at SB Nation, Brent Brookhouse 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 very clearly win makes no sense in the typical line of boxing thinking,” Brookhouse said in his blog.
Dan Rafael wrote in ESPN.com 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.
“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.
Davies of The Telegraph, 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 said in his blog.
“This was a bad decision. Pacquiao won the fight on my card, HBO’s card and virtually everyone else’s card. Despite Pacquiao outlanding Bradley (253-159) and outperforming him in 10 of 12 rounds, a pair of judges handed Bradley the WBO welterweight title. It was a bizarre and unpopular decision, one that (again) makes you wonder about the competence of the judges in boxing. Bradley didn’t embarrass himself, but he didn’t win the fight, either,” he added.
HBO’s resident judge, Harold Lederman, scored it 119-109 for Pacquiao.
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 postfight 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, and only 13 percent said yes.