To call Timothy Bradley’s victory over Manny Pacquiao shocking is perhaps the understatement of the year.
Let’s be clear: Pacquiao got screwed.
Bradley, after being clearly dominated for 12 rounds by Pacquiao, somehow managed to emerge with Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight belt Saturday night in Las Vegas with an unfathomable split-decision victory that immediately raised questions of a fix.
Bradley "won" by 115-113 on two scorecards — the other judge had Pacquiao winning by that score — but it could be argued that Pacquiao won all 12 rounds.
Coming into the fight, Pacquiao’s mental state, among other things, was questioned, and many people hedged their bets late in the game, too. Picking against Pacquiao became difficult, but people started justifying their thoughts based on his personal life and the changes he’s made in the recent past.
And now one thing is for sure more than anything else: The biggest fight the sport can make right now is officially off for the time being. And something also feels plenty off with Bradley’s win — to the point that this might be more than just a case of poor judging.
While Floyd Mayweather may not have been able to watch the fight due to his recent incarceration for domestic violence, he’s easily the biggest loser in all of this. The biggest match in boxing history, one in which both fighters could have pocketed $50 million, now is ruined because of Saturday night’s historically inept, perhaps historically corrupt, decision.
Bradley may have claimed to think he won the fight afterward, but even he said he needed to go back and watch it again. Without actually saying it, Bradley implied the decision wasn’t as kosher as his celebration seemed to make it.
One thing is abundantly clear about all of this: There needs to be an investigation into all involved. Immediately.
Commentator Teddy Atlas spoke about Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and possible corruption immediately after the fight was over. And while it’s just an allegation at this point, for the sake of all involved, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer needs to launch more than just a cursory investigation into all of this.
A number of things need to happen for the stench to lift off this fiasco.
We need to get justifications from all three judges on why they scored the fight the way they did. We need to know what they saw to give Bradley so many rounds, when even a neophyte boxing fan could clearly see Bradley lost the fight.
If this was a case of incompetence from three judges who had fairly substantial resumes in the sport, we need to know and correct things through education, etc., so that Pacquiao (or any other fighter) can’t lose a fight after landing more often and landing harder punches, commanding the ring like a general, with Bradley coming out like a beaten man for more than half the fight.
If this is purely incompetence, it needs to be corrected and corrected immediately, with proper punishments and sanctions to the judging staff from Kizer.
There’s no evidence at this point to suggest this fight was fixed. But this fight needs to be investigated purely to rule out that there was any corruption conspiracy.
Boxing’s past isn’t a clean one, and people are going to point to this fight as something akin to a grand conspiracy to screw Pacquiao. When Atlas, one of boxing’s legendary analysts, is stating on the air that the fix was in because Pacquiao is leaving his long-time promoter Arum, then it needs to be investigated if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
That kind of talk on a fight this big has to be quelled by an investigation that is above board. And if something dirty happened, all involved need to be banned from the sport, as well.
Pacquiao was screwed last night, and so was Floyd Mayweather. We need to know why.