Desert Storm as Manny Mugged in Vegas

By: Danny Richardson Twitter me @Danny_Boy_93
Controversy in boxing is never far away, and last night, the sport we love was left in disrepute. Manny Pacquiao, who entered the ring against Timothy Bradley as arguably the best fighter on the planet, somehow left it a beaten man. Whether you’re a Pacquiao fan or not, the man from the Philippines was the victim of some terrible judging last night, even though he was far from his best.
It was far from vintage Pac Man, and I have to say it’s clear he’s on the slide. The Pacquiao of 3 years ago would have taken Bradley out, and at times last night, it seemed he was going to. But there is something that is missing from his game, and his last three performances have shown that.
But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was robbed blind last night. Like many, I had Manny winning the fight 116-112, or 8 rounds to 4. Some of the rounds were close, but Pacquiao’s bursts in the last minute of rounds won him the majority. His left hand was accurate, and looked like it would take Bradley out, especially between rounds 3 and 6. Bradley was wobbled by the straight lefts time and time again, and after a bright start, I didn’t give Bradley a round until the latter stages, which ultimately ‘won’ him the fight.
In the last few rounds, Bradley resorted to plodding forward, and pressing Pacquiao who had slowed down. The bursts weren’t there anymore, but it was as if Pacquiao knew that he had done enough already, and many believed he had. Bradley looked like he needed a knockout to win.
And when that didn’t come, it seemed the result was inevitable. Ringside observers had Pacquiao winning by as many as 11 rounds. Respected writer Dan Rafael had the fight 11-1 Pacquiao, while HBO’s scorecard read the same. On Primetime TV, Wayne McCullough and Amir Khan had Pacquiao winning by 5 rounds, with most on Twitter having similar margins. Whatever the opinion of the scores, most had Pacquiao winning comfortably. There were a select few that had the fight a draw, but at the time, this seemed like a joke – until the decision was announced.
115-113 Bradley. As soon as the first scorecard was read, you could sense controversy. 115-113 Pacquiao, 115-113, and the new WBO welterweight champion of the world, Timothy ‘Desert Storm’ Bradley. Cue uproar.
I have never seen a reaction like it. The pundits on Primetime were stunned, Twitter went into over drive, a chorus of boos echoed around the MGM Grand. But the most telling reaction of all was those of the two fighters. Pacquiao stood still, clearly stunned. Bradley jumped up on the ropes, screaming to the crowd. He was as shocked as anybody, and that’s all you need to know.
There was no way he won last night. I’m not blaming Bradley, it’s not his fault he was awarded the decision. But he knew he didn’t win last night, he even admitted that himself. I can’t see how you can make a case for a Bradley win. Yes, some of the rounds were close after Pacquiao coasted through the back end of the fight, but how can you say Bradley won 7 rounds? I admit, in the first two minutes of a lot of the rounds, he kept Pacquiao at bay. But, after the Pac Man bursted forward in the last minute, that work counted for nothing. He didn’t do enough in those two minutes to win the round, a round is 3 minutes long, and Pacquiao did enough to take 8 out of the 12 rounds for me.
The fight itself wasn’t much in the way of entertainment, in fact it played out exactly as I and many expected. As I’ve said, Pacquiao is clearly not the fighter he once was, but he was still a level above Bradley, and showed that in the first 7 rounds. He slowed down towards the end of the contest, and I believe that was Bradley’s plan, to take the later rounds when Pacquiao slowed. He won 3 of the last 5 for me, but even then, I still had him a mile behind. He fought like a man who knew he was beaten, he knew he couldn’t take Pacquiao out, and I believe he wanted to hear that final bell so went into survival mode. You have to give him credit for that, but there is no way he won.
I don’t know what else I can say about it, it was daylight robbery. No one can make a case for Bradley, if they do, they don’t know boxing, and I include the 3 judges in that. How can they be allowed to judge a big fight like that again? It’s ludicrous.
Of course, there have been conspiracies floating around that Bob Arum orchestrated the decision. Some are saying that he wanted Bradley to win, because as Pacquiao is coming to the end of his contract with Top Rank, he wanted to bring through the next superstar in Bradley. Some are saying that Arum wanted the rematch in November so Pacquiao wouldn’t be available to face Floyd Mayweather. It’s all too complicated, I just think it’s down to bad judging.
So what does this mean for the future of both men? The rematch has to happen. There are rumours it’s already scheduled for November, and I’m sure we’ll learn more soon. It has to happen, because Pacquiao will want to prove to the world that he was robbed blind last night. Bradley has already said he wants it again, so it’s the clear step.
However, there are rumours that Pacquiao will face Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time in November, while Bradley will take on Mayweather, with the winners facing each other. I for one think that Mayweather will wipe the floor with Bradley, so that’s a foregone conclusion for me. Pacquiao and Marquez 4 is a different scenario altogether, I wouldn’t bet on a win for either man. I’m jumping the gun here, because I think a rematch is the best option, but this is boxing and as we saw last night, anything can happen.
One thing that won’t be happening though, is the fight we all want to see, Mayweather and Pacquiao. Pacquiao is approaching retirement, and Mayweather would take him apart. Also, the interest for the fight will be at an all time low after last night. Add to that, the fact that Pacquiao will probably face Bradley again in November, that delays a possible fight date even more. Pacquiao may call time on his career after the Bradley rematch, meaning that the super fight to end all others is further away than ever. I’ve always maintained Mayweather would win should they ever meet, but as a boxing fan, I have to say I’m gutted. We’ve been robbed of the fight.
But, final word on last night, and one thing you have to say, is that Pacquiao will know how Juan Manuel Marquez felt last November. He was robbed of victory, and will be left devastated I’m sure. But the difference between last night and what happened with Marquez, is that Marquez deserved the win, Bradley didn’t. Pacquiao wasn’t at his best last night, but there was no doubt that he did enough to take the decision. Thanks to three judges in Vegas, the reputation of boxing is once again damaged.

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