LAS VEGAS—From the ring to the pulpit, Manny Pacquiao made a leap of faith Sunday night.
Shrugging off his harrowing, controversial loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. less than 24 hours earlier, Pacquiao appeared as main guest of the Jesus Is Lord evangelical meeting at the Riviera here.
Pacquiao, showing no rancor despite initially insisting he’d been robbed of victory, was introduced by JIL head Bro. Eddie Villanueva as “the champion’s champion” and spoke extemporaneously before a congregation of more than a thousand, including a sprinkling of foreigners.
Rather than dwell on the merits of the fight and the injustice done to him by the judges, who handed Bradley an incredulous split decision, Pacquiao said he was leaving his fate to God. He then talked about how his spirtual reawakening started six months ago and how he’d stayed the course.
While Pacquiao looked forward to a rematch with Bradley in November, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum continued his tirade against what he called the “three blind mice,” referring to judges Jerry Roth, C.J. Ross and Duane Ford.
So infuriated was Arum that he included Roth, who actually scored the fight for Pacquiao, 115-113. Ross and Duane Ford both had it 115-113 for Bradley.
Ross and Ford later defended their scorecards, saying they scored the fight for the WBO welterweight crown as they saw fit and without malice.
Boxing pundits like Teddy Atlas, however, were almost unanimous in saying that Pacquiao—who landed more power punches, 190-108, and connected more punches, 253-159— not only won but dominated the bout.
The appearance of Bradley, in a wheelchair in the postfight conference, also spoke volumes of how the fight went.
As Bradley himself admitted, Pacquiao was too fast and too powerful he was forced to move away.
Pacquiao’s sneaky attacks apparently caused Bradley to move on the wrong foot, resulting in torn ligaments on his left foot while twisting the other.
How a hurting Bradley can outscore Pacquiao still boggled the mind of true boxing fans around the world.