Where’s the Outrage for the Terrible Pacquiao vs. Bradley Decision?
As we struggle to make sense of the atrocious decision that gave Timothy Bradley the win over Pacquiao, we need to figure out how to put this into perspective. Let’s break it down for all the participants in the fight and see where the blame lies for one of the worst decisions in a big fight to ever come down the pike.
And yes–it was that bad. Yeah, I know–we were brainwashed by the announcers and fell victim to “groupthink.” We were so stuck on the fact that Pacquiao was winning that we didn’t see Bradley’s late surge. To that I say bull–just pure, unadulterated doo-doo.
One of the problems is that fans and media aren’t angry enough. In an effort to appear even-tempered, some people want to rationalize it. “Oh, it was closer than we thought. Oh, the judges had an off-night.” Yeah, right. Either Pacquiao won that fight by a mile or I have zero clue of what to be looking for when judging a fight.
Why such a permissive attitude for practices that make an absolute mockery of the sport? What happened last night would be like if after Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the announcer got on the PA and declared “Ladies and gentlemen, the Boston Celtics will be going to the NBA Finals!”
This was not Rios-Abril or some other fight that no one outside of the boxing hardcore even notices. There are really only two superstars in the entire sport–Mayweather and Pacquiao. Millions saw the fight. And the sport we love probably lost more fans that we can’t afford to lose and left even the hardcore set wondering why we even spend our time on this. God forbid a 13-year old future heavyweight champion saw this and said to himself, “Screw this, I’m gonna play football.”
I told my friend when the names Duane Ford and Jerry Roth were announced as judges, that these were the “usual suspects.” If some BS were to unfold, the pieces were in place. After the decision, the majority of people seemed inclined to give them a pass when the issue of being crooked arose. That is absurd.
I pose the following: Find as many people you can who saw the fight. Randomly separate them into thousands of groups of 3. If any single one of those groups of 3 has 2 people saying Bradley won that fight, I will drop all claims of corruption. But when the only group of 3 that has 2 people saying a guy won are the 3 judges–I don’t know what other conclusions to make. You tell me.
When the best-case scenario is that they are merely incompetent, that’s not a rosy picture either. I find it hard to believe that in a fight this big that sound judging should even be an issue. It should be a given.
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Vegas gets the biggest fights. The Nevada commission should be up to par and they are clearly not. Commission head Keith Kizer walks around like some kind of bigshot. Why? Your commission is a disaster. On your dime, big-time Vegas boxing has started resembling professional wrestling in terms of the results not matching the action in the ring. Shame on you. This commission needs to be revamped. It’s one thing to be arrogant when you’re getting the job done. But sir, your commission is a joke. And everyone knows it. People might be nice to you in your face, but we all know you’re a lame-duck commissioner who is part of the problem.
Why not recruit some judges? You know, like some people who can’t tell you what it was like to live during the Great Depression? Why am I seeing the names of judges that have been spoiling fight results since the 1980’s? This was a big fight. The best judges should be used. It doesn’t look like that happened. We got two old bags and some dizzy broad named CJ. I wouldn’t trust this trio to judge a cupcake-making contest. Why are they in positions to alter the course of history in this great sport?
It’s hard to place any blame on a fighter that won 10 out of 12 rounds by my calculations. I suppose he could have done some things differently. He didn’t close the fight terribly well and was sloppy at times, especially when it seemed like Bradley was wide open and Pac-Man failed to hit him with a haymaker when it seemed doable. But the man won the fight. Yeah, I know, he didn’t fight in the early parts of some rounds. Whatever. He won and it wasn’t close.
I thought he was disappointing, if anything. He was dogged. He showed heart and durability and a lot of inner-resource for staying the course. But it’s not a good sign when you try to make a case for a guy winning and end up talking about his balls, heart, and chin. Those are usually attributes assigned to a gutsy loser, which is exactly what Bradley was on this night.
On one hand, it seems weird that he would actively campaign for this result. A lot of people say Arum is behind this. I don’t know. It doesn’t speak much of a man when he gets blamed for anything weird that occurs. But you can’t really call him out on anything. The upside for him staging this seems foggy at best. Why would he?
Fans need to negatively reinforce this type of stuff. Should we buy the rematch? Absolutely not. Pacquiao already won. We gotta go through all this again for what? Because two arbiters couldn’t judge a fight worth a damn? That’s not a good enough reason. How do you even sell it? “Tune in Saturday to see if 2 out of 3 idiots can see the forest for the trees.” Or “Pay $70 so you can see Manny get credit for what he did 6 months ago.”
This will never happen, but if the MGM were empty and no one bought the PPV for Pacquiao-Bradley II (I will never call it Bradley-Pacquiao), it will send a message that will be received loudly and clearly. There is a line in the sand. It’s invisible and hard to define, but one thing is certain–this decision was way over that line. And at some point, the fans and media need to resist becoming sheep.
What happened is unacceptable. And whoever is saying anything different is part of the problem. The decision was rotten. It makes boxing a joke. It makes betting on boxing (something I care a lot about) even a bigger joke. The fact that Bradley can now claim a victory over Pacquiao also makes the history of this sport read like professional wrestling lore.
I love this sport. I want it to be as big as it once was. And I actually think it has the potential to make a comeback. But with decisions like this, the public confidence will never be high enough to allow it to become more than the niche sport it has become. Boxing won’t die because of decisions like this, but it probably won’t get any bigger, either.
Right now, the sport is trying to make a jerk out of you, the fan. Here comes more build-up, more episodes of 24/7, and more money you have to spend in order to see a conclusion to something that has really already been settled. And I, for one, refuse to dutifully follow the script. The issue of Pacquiao-Bradley is closed. Pacquiao won and Bradley does not deserve an immediate rematch. Now we have to go through this whole song and dance again? Because two judges couldn’t do their job?
Everyone needs to get behind this. The caretakers of the sport should operate on a level befitting the effort, heart, and sacrifices made by the boxers. And right now, it seems like the results of major-league boxing is decided by little-league people. That needs to change. Rather than just carry on covering fights as if everything is OK, it’s time for the media to hold people accountable for this.
I realize this is a from-the-gut analysis. Maybe time will temper my anger, but I think that’s the part of the problem. There needs to be anger over this. And I don’t think we’re seeing enough of it.