Saturday night was a dark day for the sport of boxing. The sport is already hurting due to the spike in popularity of the UFC and MMA, the lack of heavyweight contenders, and the need for more superstar caliber fighters. Manny Pacquiao is one of the very few faces of boxing, if not THE face of boxing. Saturday night he entered the ring as the WBO Welterweight champion against undefeated opponent Tim Bradley. Saturday night will go down in history as one of the worst if not worst decisions in boxing ever. Anybody with at least 20/400 vision will tell you that Manny Pacquiao dominated Tim Bradley through 12 rounds. Most people covering boxing who were scoring the fight had Pacquiao winning somewhere between 11 rounds to 1 and at worst 9 rounds to 3. Pacquiao also came into the fight as the champion, and as far as my boxing knowledge extends one would have to clearly beat the champion to take the belt. This was most definitely not the case in everybody’s eyes except the only three people that mattered. The judges scored the fight 115-113 (Duane Ford and CJ Ross) in Bradley’s favor giving him the victory by split decision.
This is the age of the internet where if something significant happens in pop culture or sports it is known about in a matter of seconds. Many people took to twitter saying what a travesty the decision was, boxing is fixed, Pacquiao was robbed, is this real life? Even Tim Bradley had to be shocked. After the final bell Bradley said to promoter Bob Arum, “I tried hard, but I couldn’t beat the guy”. Then Bradley lied through his teeth saying, “I thought I won the fight. I didn’t think he was as good as everyone says he was. I didn’t feel his power.” Bradley, you’re right he isn’t as good as everyone says he’s better. He clearly outboxed Bradley. Pacquiao said of Bradley, “He never hurt me with his punches; most of them landed on my arms,”.
I have been watching and following boxing for about 10 years now and from what I’ve learned you never want it to get to the judges scorecards, because than anything can happen. Even when it is crystal clear that one man was the outright winner. Nobody taught me boxing or showed me the sport, I picked it up on my own while following boxing great Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins. He had been my favorite boxer since I started watching some 3 years prior, we also share the same birthday. He’s probably the only thing I like that comes from Philadelphia. On July, 16 2005, Hopkins defended his Middleweight title against Jermain Taylor. The Pacquiao-Bradley fight reminded me of the Hopkins-Taylor right. They are both similar. Pacquiao and Hopkins hadn’t been beaten in a long time, Pacquiao riding a 7 year win streak, Hopkins hadn’t lost since 1993 against Roy Jones Jr. and held the title for 10 years. Bradley and Taylor were undefeated and rising stars in the business. I had Pacquiao and Hopkins winning the fight and didn’t think that either of their opponents had done enough to win the title. Both decisions were controversial, none more controversial than the latter fight.
Here’s my take on the “controversy” surrounding the fight. Much like Hopkins-Taylor, Pacquiao-Bradley pitted an older boxer seemingly on the way out to possibly the next face of boxing. Here’s where boxing gets a little “WWF-ish” in its respect. Boxing which is currently in dire need of a new face thought that giving the title to Bradley would be in their best interest. He will presumably be here for the foreseeable future, while Pacquiao’s future is in question. Pacquiao is a member of Congress in the Philippines and is considered to be a future presidential lock. Bradley is young and undefeated much like Jermain Taylor was at the time when he faced Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins was 40 years old when he took on Jermain Taylor and he had promised his mother he would retire. Well Hopkins is still boxing and just lost his WBC and Ring Light Heavyweight Title to Andre Dawson this past April. Yes, 7 years later at 47 Hopkins still held a title. Pacquiao could have been robbed of this match and his title for similar reasons that Hopkins was being pushed out as the champ against Taylor.
Manny Pacquiao is granted a rematch if he wants one. If he takes it, it will only prolong the highly anticipated and most wanted match of this side of the century against Floyd Mayweather. Many think that Pacquiao-Mayweather would be the best fight in recent memory and are probably right. If you’re Pacquiao or even Mayweather for that matter do you want to even take that chance now? What if Mayweather is seen as winning the fight but loses on the judges scorecards and tarnishes his undefeated record? What if Pacquiao outboxs Mayweather much like he did Bradley but still doesn’t come out on top? Pacquiao is a class act and even after finding out that his title was taken from him right in front of his face, he just smiled. Pacquiao is the definition of class in boxing even when it seems boxing has lost its class. In my opinion Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao should walk away from boxing right now. He doesn’t need the rematch against Bradley to prove anything. He shouldn’t even consider giving the sport of boxing its biggest payday ever by fighting Mayweather. He has just been done dirty by the same sport he seemingly has put on his back the past 7 years. The pound-for-pound best fighter in the world should turn around and hit boxing with a left hook that they didn’t see coming and hand up his gloves right now. Then what would boxing do? They would be remembered as doing wrong by the man the fans love to watch fight. A lot of people would probably never watch boxing again, err for a long time, if he did retire. Manny Pacquiao however has more class then me, the boxing organization, promoters, and the judges.