Pacquiao vs. Bradley: A case of righting past wrongs?

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Manny Pacquiao’s loss on points to Timothy Bradley this weekend has become a global sports catastrophe, so much so that it became a rare boxing event that somehow managed to elbow its way on to the center stage of sports coverage (albeit briefly) in the middle of the 2012 Euro Cup. To borrow an idea from Scott Levinson, I think if you conducted a survey of boxing experts (let’s say ex-fighters, trainers, promoters and writers, so we can exclude the judges) on the outcome of that fight, the odds against finding two results in three that gave the fight to Bradley would be astronomical. Arguably the biggest name in boxing was felled by a stinky decision, and that’s big news.

So what happened?  Even saying Pacman won the fight by 115-113, as Jerry Roth did, is a bit of a stretch, as the margin is perhaps too small. Saying he lost it by 115-113 as Duane Ford and C.J. Ross did is ridiculous. My personal suspicion is that the Vegas boxing establishment, either consciously or unconsciously, went out of their way to appear “fair” to Timothy Bradley in the wake of past complaints over how Pacquiao’s fights have been scored. This is an attitude I have called “over-correction” ever since Oscar de la Hoya’s 1999 loss to Felix Trinidad.

When the Golden Boy Couldn’t Get a Break

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

According to conventional business wisdom, the judges should never have had any bias whatsoever for Desert Storm, who isn’t in the same league as Pacman in terms of bankability. Yet skewed judging is not always about the business angle, as hometown decisions clearly indicate. Another source of stinky scoring is the sting of repeated accusations of bias in the media (everywhere but Germany, that is, which remains stubbornly immune to charges of corruption). Boxing councils and judges don’t like being labeled biased, incompetent or dirty any more than anyone else, and the result is sometimes taking actions that are, well, biased, incompetent and/or dirty in the opposite direction.

Oscar de la Hoya was dogged by this wrong-headed effort to appear “fair” through the latter half of his career. In the late 1990s, boxing observers repeatedly criticized the scoring of his fights, particularly the 1997 Pernell Whitaker fight and the 1999 Ike Quartey match. Both fights were held in Vegas, both were close, and in both instances two or more judges gave the Golden Boy a huge margin of victory unjustified by anything that took place in the ring.

Then came the 1999 clash with Felix Trinidad, which remains one of the most controversial bouts in modern memory. Almost all observers had de la Hoya winning the fight, but the ruling was a Majority Decision for Trinidad. In a pertinent example, Jerry Roth gave Tito the 115-113 score that I gave to de la Hoya.

Oscar de la Hoya’s rematch with Shane Mosley in 2003 was also skewed away from Oscar, with all three judges giving Mosley a 115-113 verdict in what was a razor-close fight. While the Vegas judges did Oscar a clear favor in his 2004 middleweight title bout with Felix Sturm, the scoring of de la Hoya’s grudge bout with Fernando Vargas was suspiciously close for a bout that saw the Golden Boy clearly outbox (and ultimately stop) Ferocious Fernando.

At the time, de la Hoya was the biggest money maker south of heavyweight in the sport. Scoring a win on de la Hoya was a guaranteed career booster, as Pacquiao himself discovered later on. Conventional wisdom suggests that de la Hoya should have gotten the nod in any close bout, nevermind when he actually won the fight by a clear and obvious margin, yet in the latter half of his career he usually did not get that nod. With a scoring record like that, one has to wonder why Oscar de la Hoya kept fighting in Las Vegas.

Is Manny Pacquiao Getting the Judge’s Payback?

Manny Pacquiao has also been accused of getting too much love from the judges, particularly in his fights with Juan Manuel Marquez. While most observers agree that the first encounter between these two gladiators was fairly scored as a Draw, the majority of observers believe Marquez won both the 2008 rematch and the 2011 rubber match. All three of these fights took place in Vegas, and interestingly, many of the same “Vegas regulars” were participants in all of the aforementioned matches involving questionable scoring.

The Bradley vs. Pacquiao judges were Duane Ford, C.J. Ross and Jerry Roth. Ford was previously assigned to the 2008 Marquez rematch on the one hand, and Oscar’s 2003 rematch with Shane Mosley on the other. Jerry Roth worked the 1997 Whitaker bout, the 1999 Trinidad fight and the 2008 Marquez rematch. Roth was the judge who said Pacquiao won, but with a margin of only two points, he looks merely like a minor corrector rather than a major one. C.J. Ross has a fairly clean record, but even so was part of last year’s horrible Mares vs. Agbeko fiasco.

Neither I nor any other boxing observer knows what actually took place in the minds of Ford, Ross and Roth this weekend any more than we know what Hamada, Logist and Roth were thinking back in 1999. I merely suggest one possible explanation: that when the fans and the press complain about stinky scoring, sometimes the judges listen, and in doing so they over-correct and make a bad situation worse. However, handing Pacquiao a loss he didn’t deserve against Bradley in no way makes up for wronging Juan Manuel Marquez twice. As the grade school axiom goes, two wrongs don’t make a right. The extra wrong adds one more unjust decision to the growing, stinky pile that blights the entire sport.

As for Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum, I suggest the both of you think twice before you fight in Las Vegas again. In particular, do everything you can to make any fight with Floyd Mayweather happen at Madison Square Garden. The days when Sin City loved you first and foremost are clearly over.

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  1. Pacquiao-Marquez III, no way Marquez won that fight running the whole 12 rounds, and stealing shots. You want the belt, you bring it to the champion and fight. Marquez the whole night was backpedalling like a circus performer. In the old days fights were meant to destroy the opponent, there’s no such thing as “OK, I give him a point for making that beautiful sidestep to avoid his punch”. Pacquiao was just exasperated running after Marquez the whole night.

    • the great pacman was schooled that day by JMM , you guys call JMM and his fans crybabies well karma does taste good now does it? hahahaha you guys are so dumb old bob arum just plays with you all the time. well your hero is now a holy man , a holy man who associates himslef with chavit singson hawhaw haw a man is defined by the company he keeps , if i were pacman id stop trying to prove to the world that he is holy as they say a noisy can is the can with less contents. stop playing that holy role mr pacman reeling from you bigoted comments tsk tsk maybe pacman thinks like arum and sees his fans as obedient and mindless

      • Firstly, you’re one of the rare people who calls Manny a “holy man.” Secondly, the 3rd JMM fight was pretty close it could have gone either way. Most boxing pundits thought JMM won but there were also many who said Manny won. He was the agressor throughout the fight and the Compubox stats showed Manny the “winner” (more punches landed / higher connect rate). In the Bradley fight VERY few said Bradley won. Even certified Pac-haters, Teddly Atlas, Floyd Sr, & Jeff Mayweather thought Manny won by a landslide. I re-watched the fight looking only at Bradley’s gloves and where it landed. A great majority landed on Pacman’s arms/gloves. Re-watched it again looking only at Manny’s gloves and, although he missed some too, the blows that landed were more effective, and hard.

  2. Excellent put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this. You should proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!|What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & aid other users like its aided me. Good job.

  3. Arinolang_Butas

    BRADLEY says “I will SHOCKED the WORLD” but it turns out, the JUDGES SHOCKED the WORLD. …JUDGES should be TRAINED, RE-TRAINED, EDUCATED and also have an EYE checked up and REFLEX re-action TESTING to know if they are able to distinguish and recognized a POWER Punch, Clear Punch and a Jab….2ndly Judges age Limit SHOULD be 25 to 45years old, because at these age people are still very ALERT and SENSITIVE…3rdly there should be 5 Judges around the ring with a very CLEAR view with an enclosures Like Cubicle type to AVOID being distracted by noises from the audience..

  4. obviously filipinos wont admit pacman lost to JMM its plain blind devotion to pacman , too bad arum is playing with them right now and theyre sucking it up hook line and sinker!

  5. the filipinos claimed in regards with Pacquiao wins over Marquez in their third match is legitimate as it was supported by compubox stat where Pacquaio landed more punches than JMM. This last Saturday (Sunday in Manila), only the two judges believed that Bradley won the fight. The fans, boxing writers and all members of team Bradley inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena and all fans all over the world watching the fight in their TV set believed (not thought as in the word of one judge)that Pacquiao won the fight. As per Compu Box, the modest round for Bradley was only 2 rounds (no more no less)and before the verdict announcement, nobody among Bradley team and Bradley himself expecting that he won the fight. See his body language? JOEL DIAZ IS SO HYPOCRITE ALONG WITH BRADLEY TO PAMPER HIS BOXER ABOUT THAT FIGHT. NOW, JOEL, LOOK AT THE RESULT OF THAT FIGHT, PACQUIAO HAS INCREASED ITS POPULARITY WHILE YOUR BOXER (BRADLEY)WAS STILL AT THE BOTTOM, EVEN IF HE ELEVATED IN THE POUND FOR POUND RATING AHEAD OF PACQUIAO, BRADLEY WILL NEVER CONSIDER A BOXING STAR AND CAN’T SELL A PPV, JOEL, THAT IS THE EFFECT OF THE RESULT OF THAT FIGHT. BUT, YOU CAN CHANGE IT BY NOT BOASTING THE WIN, INSTEAD OF DOING THAT, WHY HAVE YOU NOT ACCEPT THAT BRADLEY NEVER WON THAT FIGHT? WHY DON’T YOU ADVISE BRADLEY TO RETURN THE BELT TO THE WBO? FOR THAT, HIS STOCK MAY INCREASE AND MAYBE, MAYBE HE WILL BECOME A STAR AT WELTERWEIGHT.

  6. it is becoming increasingly apparent that bradley is a protected fighter.

  7. I am fan of boxing for many years and still prefer the sweet science over emerging alternatives such as mixed martial arts (MMA and UFC), however, the decision victory given to Bradley over Pacquiao last June 9,2012 dampened my enthusiasm and strengthened my belief that the sport is controlled by organized gambling syndicate/mafia. In connection with this, I would like to present a new and highly plausible explanation on why and more importantly, how the gambling syndicate manipulated the key players and pulled the strings on their “puppet show” to determine the outcome of the match.

    1. Why was the fight rigged?
    The organized gambling syndicate in boxing monitored the ongoing betting in connection with the fight in its vast network of betting stations – both legal and illegal- above ground and underground within the U.S. and around the world. Days before the fight, the betting figures could have soared to several hundred million dollars. For illustration purposes, we could say that approximately 10,000 bets were placed on Pacquiao by big time gamblers with an average bet of US$100,000 per bet for a total of US$1 Billion with an estimated return of about US$250Million in case of a Pacquiao win. Only around 1,000 big time bets averaging also US$100,000 on the other hand, were placed in favor of Bradley totaling US$100Million with a possible return of US$360 Million given a Bradley win. Given the huge amount of money to be earned, the gambling mafia of boxing decided to pull the strings to give Bradley the decision since they expected to earn US$1Billion from the Pacquiao bets and lose only around US$360Million to pay for the Bradley bets, thus generating a net earning of around US$640 Million- a gigantic amount that is hard to forego as it could even possibly surpass the combined potential earnings of broadcast networks, promotional companies, individual fighters and other beneficiaries of the proposed superfight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    2. How the fight was rigged/how were the key players manipulated?
    The gambling syndicate deployed covert operatives to manipulate the key players individually/separately, notably- the three judges and most probably Pacquiao himself with a mix of misinformation, deception, bribe/pseudo-bribe and possibly, even threat.

    2.1 Judge Ford and Ross. For the two judges who scored the bout in favor of Bradley, the operatives may have introduced themselves as members of an underground organization that loves boxing and seeks to keep the sport interesting and continually growing by trying to make bouts exciting and unpredictable and also ensure that new boxing superstars are continually produced. The operatives would (mis)inform the judges that they don’t care if either Pacquiao knocks out Bradley or vice-versa as both scenarios will bode well for the sport. A Pacquiao knock out will lead to a multi-million dollar showdown between Pacquiao and Mayweather, while a Bradley win by knockout or domination of Pacquiao will usher the rise of a new superstar and pave the way for a mouth-watering mega-million round robin among Pacquiao, Mayweather and Bradley. The operatives would tell the judges that their concern is if Pacquiao simply dominates Bradley as this will result to the latter being dismissed as a non-elite fighter and result to a dearth of boxing superstars and a decline of boxing once Pacquiao and Mayweather retire from the sport. The judges were then asked in the scenario of no knockout and domination of Bradley by Pacquiao to score the fight close but in favor of the former. This would not affect the outcome of the match as the two other judges would most likely score the bout in favor of Pacquiao. The “surprise” split decision would create some uncertainty and unpredictability in the sport and spur a continuing plot of controversies which could somehow translate to interest and excitement in boxing while at the same time sanitizing Bradley’s record in paper and “preserving” him as a future boxing superstar who could fill the void when Pacquiao and Mayweather leave the sport. The two judges were therefore tricked into believing that in the event of a no-knockout Pacquiao domination, they would only be playing a “mild” prank that would not alter the outcome of the match, but would help the sport sustain its momentum. On top of this sweet talk and deception, the judges may have also been bribed with six or seven digit figures and may have even been threatened by telling them that there is also a group that has invested millions to make Bradley the future boxing superstar, and that this group could possibly become hostile if their ends are not realized.

    2.2 Judge Roth. The convincing on the judge that scored the bout close but in favor of Pacquiao followed the same pattern as discussed above for the two other judges except that the mild “prank” would involve scoring the bout close but in favor of Pacquiao in case the match turns out to be a Pacquiao domination but without a knockout.

    2.3 Pacquiao. The gambling syndicate may also have employed a mix of deception, misinformation and possibly pseudo bribe, or even threat that had the pound for pound superstar fall victim and participate in the fix. An operative from the syndicate may have introduced himself/herself to Pacquiao as a member of a behind the scenes organization that seeks to promote the continued growth of boxing by ensuring the emergence of future boxing stars that would carry the torch when both him and Mayweather leave the sport. The operatives may have convinced Pacquiao that Bradley is a kind, humble person and a loving family oriented guy who has a similar rag to riches story and could therefore fill in the void when the pound for pound king retires from the sport. Knocking Bradley out will be detrimental to boxing as it will strike out from elite status a possible candidate superstar who could replace Pacquiao. It will curb the momentum of the sport by derailing Bradley’s rise and interfere with the sustaining plot of good vs. evil superstar matchups that had time and again proven to give the sport a boost. Pacquiao may have been asked by the (gambling syndicate) operative to just show his superiority and settle for a victory on points and also not to completely overwhelm Bradley. The deception of not going for a knockout for the future “good” of the sport may have been mixed with a pseudo bribe whereby Pacquiao may have been offered perhaps a few million dollars to be donated to his favorite charity or church organization or to finance projects for his congressional district in case he did not go for the kill or knockout. The operative may or may not have tossed in or hinted some form of threat by telling Pacquiao that there is a group that has invested millions for Bradley to be the future boxing superstar and they would likely be hostile in case the latter was knocked out.

    Pacquiao may have been deceived by this manipulation and therefore took it easy on Bradley. This can be observed may times during the match. While Pacquiao has been known to dish out a lot of 4 or 5 punch combinations during matches in his entire career, these salvos were sparingly thrown during the match with Bradley. It is also hard to believe that while Bradley injured his ankle and could not fight one hundred percent during most of the match, the pound for pound king still could not finish him. In fact, there were several awkward instances in the fight when Bradley seemed to have lost his footing perhaps due to the injury and had his arms down at the same time, and because of the difficulty of regaining his footing due to the injury, seemed to have frozen for a moment like a sitting duck standing close to and within punching range of Pacquiao, but the latter did not try to throw even a single punch. Also several slow motion clips showed that when Pacquiao fired a combination and connects with a punch that throws Bradley offguard and thus more vulnerable to follow ups, the succeeding punches often miss their mark, possibly thrown by Pacquiao with the intention to miss or overshoot the target. Pacquiao seems to have willingly held off his offense in numerous occasions during the fight.

    3. Bob Arum. Although I know that Bob Arum is one of the power players of the sport who tries to exert his influence so that things (e.g. money) will play (flow) out in his favor, I cannot say if he was party to the manipulations or if he had prior knowledge of what happened . He may or may not, but I pity him for being tagged outright by some as brains of the fiasco.

    4. To sum up, the outcome of the fight was cleverly manipulated by the powers that be in boxing. The three judges and perhaps even Pacquiao were individually coaxed, cajoled and tricked into believing that they would only fight or do things a “little different” without really altering the outcome of the match in order to sustain the momentum of boxing. The three had no idea that they were to become puppets in an organized and cleverly orchestrated plot to manipulate the outcome of the match. Pacquiao knew that he was winning during the match but did not know that the judges had been bought. The individual judges on the other hand, thought that each of them were the only one to give a deviant score card which would not alter the outcome of the match. Six or seven digit bribes for the judges and pseudo bribes for Pacquiao in the form of donation to the boxer’s favorite charity, church organization or project for his congressional district, and some degree of threat may have been tossed in the mix to effect the convincing of the key players. Bradley was never part of the fix.

    5. Other high profile matches and how they were possibly rigged.
    Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Victor Ortiz. Mayweather, possibly in partnership with Golden Boy Promotions could have likely rigged the fight. Victor Ortiz may have been reminded that he should be thankful and gratefully indebted to the organizers for awarding him the fight with the seven digit purse guarantee. Ortiz may have been told “Welcome to the big league son. It is time for you to know that at the highest level of boxing some matches are rigged to maximize the earnings and sustain the momentum of the sport.” A Mayweather defeat (against Ortiz) will derail the momentum of boxing and dampen the enormous earning potential of a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown. Participating in the fix would be good for boxing and also for Ortiz who possibly could have been offered additional million dollar bonus which could be recouped by the perpetrators Mayweather/ and GBP by betting on the undefeated superstar. The script will not make Ortiz look bad, furthermore GBP will manage his career well, get him into good fights and make him the next boxing superstar after Pacquiao and Mayweather retire from the sport. With the referee bought to follow the script, Mayweather Jr. was so sure of the outcome and also of Ortiz’s complicity that he had been so arrogant and cocky to hold the latter (Ortiz) by the neck during the stare down session of the official weigh-in for the bout. Mayweather must have in mind that “I can hold and even choke you by the neck because I will be paying you big and you are my puppet.” Ortiz, given the bonus obliged to be the puppet and swallowed his pride by allowing the chokehold hang for quite some time. Mayweather in fact made a pronouncement in one of his interviews that at the highest level, boxing is no longer real anymore.
    Dela Hoya vs. Trinidad. Golden Boy Promotions may have approached Trinidad Camp to make the fight competitive in the first nine or ten rounds without anyone going for a knockout. This will make the fight close and pave the way for a possible mega-million dollar rematch or even trilogy. Then De la Hoya ran the few remaining rounds to avoid being knocked out.
    Dela Hoya vs. Mayweather. The two camps could have agreed to make the first eight to ten rounds close and competitive without anyone going for a knockout for the same reason as the Dela Hoya vs. Trinidad match up. Mayweather however, was not a power puncher so Dela Hoya did not have to run but only exercised caution during the last few rounds.
    Mosely vs. Alvarez. The fight was rigged. GBP convinced Mosely to take it easy on Alvarez so that boxing will sustain its momentum with the continued rise of a new darling superstar or future golden boy. Mosely complied with the “noble” intention of giving back to ensure the continued “growth” of the business side of the sport which he so dearly love, notwithstanding that he would in effect be thrashing its very essence of competition. You can observe that during the match with Alvarez, Mosely did not throw even a few powerful over hand rights which had been the trademark of his career. During the early going, Mosely threw a lot of short and slow punches which Alvarez could not even fend off or avoid. The reflex of the upstart was so slow and inexperienced that the whole match, Mosely minimized or did not throw if at all, his vaunted over hand right. A lot of the punches Mosely threw were either too wide or preceded by cocking the arm so they can be telegraphed or during the few times they were thrown fast, the punches were deliberately made to overshoot the target. Alvarez fought valiantly but did not know that his opponent was holding off his offense.
    Pacquiao vs. Margarito. Pacquiao let Margarito off the hook in the last two rounds because of his compassion, and also because he understands the business side of boxing. Maragarito who was in the same promotional outfit was at that time, being groomed for a multi-million dollar grudge match with Cotto.

    6. Given these possibilities, I hope the boxing community come together to introduce reforms that will prevent these types of manipulations in order to restore and elevate the sport to its former glory.

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