Baffling finding: Nothing fishy in Pacquiao-Bradley fight
LAS VEGAS—Believe it or not, there was nothing fishy in Manny Pacquiao’s controversial split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley in last month’s welterweight title fight in Las Vegas.
In a baffling finding likely to raise more eyebrows, Nevada State Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto informed Top Rank chief honcho Bob Arum in a letter that “interviews with the referee of the June 9 fight, two Nevada Gaming Control Board officials and (Nevada) Athletic Commission Director Keith Kizer turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.”
Arum demanded an inquiry on June 11 after the decision of the three-judge panel sparked a firestorm of protests from boxing fans and sportswriters. Arum, who manages both fighters, said he wanted to “show the world that there were no improprieties.”
No criminal investigation
The boxing promoter, who was suspected by many people of rigging the fight because he stood to benefit a lot in a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the results of Masto’s inquiry.
In her letter to Arum that was made public on Tuesday, Masto said that displeasure with the subjective decisions of sporting officials was not a sufficient basis to initiate a criminal investigation.
“There do not appear to be any facts or evidence to indicate that a criminal violation occurred,” she said.
Through a statement issued by an aide, Masto declared the matter closed.
No rebuke or reprimand
None of the three judges—Duane Ford and CJ Ross, who both scored the bout 115-113 for Bradley, and Jerry Roth, who saw Pacquiao the winner by the same score—was given a rebuke or a reprimand notwithstanding the howls of protest by sportswriters and boxing pundits at ringside.
In her “inquiry,” Masto didn’t even see the need to question the three judges and Arum himself, who had wanted to be called in to negate suspicions that he was a party to the ring travesty.
This, despite the fact that nearly everybody in the boxing world, including Pacquiao’s harshest critics like Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Juan Manuel Marquez, pronounced the eight-division world champion the winner over Bradley by unanimous decision.
Just hours after the bout held at MGM Grand Arena, an Irish online sports betting site, Paddy Power, decided to refund bettors that picked Pacquiao to win either outright or by decision.
Bill filed in US Senate
Not to be left out, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, and Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, filed a bill calling for the creation of a United States Boxing Commission to supervise the sport. Reid and McCain are former amateur boxers themselves.
Amid the raging controversy, an international five-judge panel created by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to review the fight unanimously gave Pacquiao the victory.
Even so, WBO president Francisco Valcarcel said there was nothing that could be done to overturn the judges’ original decision. Valcarcel, however, ordered a rematch—something that was contained in a clause in Pacquiao’s fight contract.
Despite the overwhelming sentiment that Pacquiao was robbed of his victory, Masto chose to uphold the “subjective decisions” of the judges.
Pacquiao, a global icon recognized as one of the most influential sports figures in the world, may be the king of the ring, but the judges are its overlords.
That’s according to Masto’s law.