LAS VEGAS—The uproar was so loud even Bob Arum was forced to reconsider an earlier announcement of an immediate rematch.
For now, the Hall of Fame promoter is shelving plans for a Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley II on November 10 even if Pacquiao wishes the rematch to push through.
The 80-year-old Arum, feeling the heat triggered by the bizarre split decision given to Bradley on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila), wants an inquiry into whether there was some hanky-panky prior to the bout that made Bradley the new WBO welterweight champion.
“I want to investigate whether there was any undue influence, whether the (Nevada State Athletic Commission) gave any particular instruction and how they came to the conclusion,” Arum told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.
Arum’s sudden move for an inquiry runs parallel to the demand of concerned boxing people and the media for a full-blown probe, possibly even a federal investigation.
“There needs to be an independent investigation because it strains credulity that an event everybody saw as one-sided one way, all three judges saw it as close,” Arum added.
Judge Jerry Roth saw the bout, 115-113, for Pacquiao, but it was overturned by similar 115-113 scores for Bradley given by two fellow judges, C.J. Ross and Duane Ford.
There were reports, according to Marv Dumon of Examiner.com, that Bradley bets spiked early Saturday morning, putting back the odds to 4-1 in Pacquiao’s favor.
An Irish bookmaker even refunded its customers who put their money on Pacquiao.
Other betting sites also suffered major losses as Pacquiao was thought to be untouchable, even against an unbeaten American champion like Bradley.
Pacquiao, with his bunch of punches and sudden lunges, took Bradley to education school in the first eight rounds before tapering a bit in the latter part.
To the trained eye and even to ordinary boxing fans, there was no way that Bradley—who showed up in the postfight conference in a wheelchair—could have won, granting that he swept the last four rounds, which he didn’t, even by the questionable scorecards.
As it turned out, Bradley suffered torn ligaments in his left foot and is due for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) on Monday, according to his manager, Cameron Dunkin. Bradley’s right foot swelled because it got twisted.
Mondejar was shocked
Veteran promoter Lito Mondejar said he was so sure of a Pacquiao victory that he left the gym early and headed to his hotel nearby.
Imagine his shock when it was flashed on the TV screen in his room that Bradley had won.
“Pacquiao was the clear winner,” said Mondejar, who handled Pacquiao up to 2006 and was one of the wedding sponsors when Manny married Jinkee.
Now retired and living comfortably at a big farm in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, Mondejar said that from the start, Pacquiao had been beating opponents who ducked, like Juan Manuel Marquez.
“They’ve been studying Manny and they know it now,” Mondejar said.
Even Bradley, though grateful that he had won, was unsure whether he did enough to hand Pacquiao his first loss in the United States since 2005.
Bradley said he would watch the replay of the fight.
Pacquiao took a leap of faith from the ring to the pulpit less than 24 hours after his loss. He appeared as the main guest of the Jesus Is Lord evangelical meeting here and showed promise as a pastor.
The Sarangani representative, who was introduced as a champion’s champion by JIL head Bro. Eddie Villanueva, spoke without any notes, impressing the congregation of over 1,000 people, majority of whom were Filipino immigrants.
Pacquiao, who came with Jinkee in tow, even made a PowerPoint presentation of his Pacman Bible Study being held at his Palazzo unit in Hollywood.
Arum said there would be no rematch unless Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto launched an investigation.
Arum, whose company promotes both fighters, said his feeling that Pacquiao had won a wide decision had not changed a day after Bradley was proclaimed winner.
Arum was adamant the result was a mistake but not the result of any chicanery.
Speaking by telephone to Yahoo! Sports, judge Ford said the criticism was part of the job but said those criticizing the outcome were almost certainly not familiar with the way fights are judged.
“If this were ‘American Idol,’ without a doubt, Manny Pacquiao would have won,” Ford said. “But it was not. I gave an honest opinion. I had Pacquiao up 4-2, I think, at the end of six rounds. I thought he hurt Bradley a couple of times early in the fight. But when the bell rang to end that round, it was over and what happens in one round doesn’t carry over to the next round.
“In the second half of the fight, Pacquiao picked off a lot of punches to the head, but Bradley landed some hard body shots. That hurt Pacquiao. I don’t mean it hurt him in the sense of it physically hurting him, but in terms of scoring and piling up points …”
Arum said that in the Philippines, “the conspiracy theory is that somehow I arranged this to create a rematch, which would give me another big fight until Floyd (Mayweather, who is serving an 87-day jail sentence) is ready to fight.”
Arum said he was getting so much heat that “we’re asking the attorney general of Nevada to conduct an investigation of everybody, to see what the facts are here.”
“You can’t rely on the (Nevada Athletic Commission) to conduct an investigation, because they’ll whitewash it,” he said.
Arum isn’t the only one calling for reform. HBO’s judge, Harold Lederman, and Lou DiBella, a promoter, are also seeking change.
Lederman scored it 119-109 for Pacquiao.
“They’ve had controversies in Nevada, and it’s about time they start bringing in judges from outside for high-profile fights,” he said.
Politics in boxing
DiBella said it was as likely now to see an indefensible decision as it was to see a fair one.
DiBella has railed on the politics of the sport for years: The ranking organizations are involved with judging, he says, and the judges belong to ranking organizations.
“There are no checks and balances on the judges,” DiBella said.
Arum was so angry shortly after the fight that he told reporters the sport was killing itself.