A montage of Bradley’s dominance. (Photo: www.pacquiaovideo.com)
By Steve Silverman
One of the worst things about boxing is the unpredictability of the human condition.
Such as when that human condition allows individuals called ‘judges’ to score a fight.
This should not be difficult. For those of us who remember when schoolyard fights took place between two individuals with fists and not weapons, it was fairly easy to tell who won the fight. The kid who left crying or had the bloody nose lost the fight. The kid who threw more punches and hurt his opponent won.
The same holds true in professional boxing. You are supposed to score each round after it is completed and then you add up the totals after 12 rounds. The fighter who wins the most rounds and therefore has the most scoring points is supposed to win the fight.
That is not what happened last night in Las Vegas when Manny Pacquiao seemingly dominated challenger Tim Bradley in their welterweight championship fight. You could easily give Bradley two rounds. You could make the argument that he did well enough to steal two more rounds if you wanted to be generous. But the other eight rounds belonged to Pacquiao.
That should have given Pacquiao a 116-112 edge in the fight, but none of the three judges scored the bout in that manner. Not even Jerry Roth, who had the fight 115-113 for Pacquiao. The other two judges – C.J. Ross and Duane Ford – each scored it 115-113 for Bradley. These judges have all left themselves open for questioning.
The crowd let a sheepish Bradley know how it felt by booing loudly every time he tried to answer questions from HBO fight analyst Max Kellerman after the fight was over. This was a no doubter because Pacquiao’s punches were more frequent, they did more damage and he controlled the pace of the fight. Bradley did a good job of being an aggressive fighter for six rounds by taking the fight to Pacquiao, but he was hit with hard punches throughout the first six rounds. At that point, Bradley became far less aggressive and it seemed as if he had made up his mind to finish the fight on his feet and that he did not want to get taken out by a Pacquiao flurry.
What should have been a clearcut decision for Pacquiao on his way to a possible bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. – sometime after Mayweather gets out of prison – became another boxing travesty. Decisions like this that don’t jibe with the action in the ring are usually associated with Olympic boxing. At the professional level, they normally don’t get one-sided fights so wrong.
As expected, Bradley showed his toughness and fought hard. His problem was that he simply did not have enough skill to stay with a great fighter who has quickness, athleticism and creativity in the ring. In boxing parlance, Bradley was outclassed.
Pacquiao did not fight his best fight and he could not put the hard-nosed Bradley down. At 33, he is not in his prime any more. However, he was the better fighter and deserved a fair decision.
Bradley seemed to know he lost the fight, saying Pacquiao had to get a rematch and acknowledging that the former champion had hurt him with several punches. On the other hand, most of Bradley’s punches seemed to land on Pacquiao’s arms.
That’s not how you win a fight. Unless the fight is a the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and is being scored by judges named Ross and Ford.
Hopefully, they will never score a fight of any kind – even in the schoolyard – ever again.