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2012 Boxing Robbery of the Year

Credit: Will Hart - HBO

The Worst Decision in Boxing 2012

Boxing in 2012 had more than its fair share of bad decisions. The “robbery” in boxing is something that cans have come to expect from time to time, but what used to be a somewhat rare occurrence has seemingly become a plague over the past few years. That unfortunate trend continued here in 2012, and even reached the absolute top levels of the sport. The choice of the worst decision and biggest robbery of the year is an easy one.

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2012 Robbery of the Year: Manny Pacquiao Loses to Timothy Bradley

Credit: Will Hart - HBO

Boxing fans across the globe were both shocked and outraged when Timothy Bradley managed to win a Split Decision against Manny Pacquiao on June 9th of this year. Scoring the fight live, I thought Pacquiao was a clear winner, to the tune of a dominant 117-111 scorecard.

The outcome never seemed in question, nor did there seem to be any impending drama. That showed us, as two of three judges (apparently the only two people of the millions who watched the fight) believed that Bradley did enough to win a close fight.

Typically, the big name fighters are the ones who get the benefit of the doubt from the judges. But when that happens on several occasions, the pendulum can swing to the other fighter’s corner as a result of “the overcompensation curse”.

It’s entirely likely that this affected the outcome here, and helped to lead to that controversial defeat. Still, an outright robbery involving one of the biggest names and stars in the sport, still perceived to be close to his peak, isn’t common, and it jolts the system. That’s why even in a year filled with multiple awful decisions, this one reigns supreme.

Of course, things would get worse for Pacquiao before the year was over, as he was on the losing end of not only the 2012 Robbery of the Year, but also the 2012 Knockout of the Year.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Gabriel Campillo-Tavoris Cloud: After scoring an early knockdown, Cloud was easily out-boxed by the swifter and more skilled Campillo. He looked lost at times in there down the stretch. That didn’t stop the judges from awarding him a clear-cut decision.
  • Richard Abril-Brandon Rios: Richard Abril appeared to seize his big chance by taking Bam Bam out of his element and controlling him with his boxing skills. However, the undefeated rising star was awarded the decision and quickly moved on, and moved up in weight.
  • Steve Cunningham-Tomasz Adamek II: It was supposed to be a late-year candidate for Fight of the Year. Instead, it made it onto this list for the worst decisions of the year. I scored the fight 117-111 in favor of Cunningham, but Adamek took home the Split Decision. It’s only the latest in a long line of bad outcomes for Cunningham, one of the most hard luck guys in the business.