Seeing how nobody on The Waiver Wire staff watched the huge Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley fight last night, we turned to our new boxing expert Jeff Balinski for his opinions on what ESPN and Twitter said was the most ridiculous split decision victory in the history of the sport.
The Reaction: Before I get into the facts I need to clear the air. Everybody that’s commenting about this fight, please shut up. You don’t know any more about boxing than I do. Stop talking about how boxing ruined itself tonight, or how you lost all faith in the sport. I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I know what I saw, and I’ll try my best to be unbiased. Just don’t believe everything you hear.
The Truth: Pacquiao won the fight. Make no mistake about that. He hit quicker. He hit harder. He hit more. What did not happen was the domination that ESPN’s unofficial scorecard says took place. There is NO WAY, I repeat, NO WAY that Pacquiao won this fight 11 rounds to 1. It was closer than it should have been, but definitely was not in favor of Bradley.
The Fight: To give you a better idea of what actually went down heres a quick summary. Bradley came out aggressive and seemed to clearly win the first round, but Pacquiao came on strong at the end of the first and from then the fight started to turn in Pacquiao’s favor. Round 2 was fairly even but 3 and 4 clearly went in favor of Pacquiao as Bradley looked like he was on his last legs, flailing his head around trying to avoid blows from Manny.
Round 5 and 6 looked like the last rounds that Pacquiao looked like he was actively trying to win this fight. For the First 6 rounds the script was pretty much the same. Bradley would be the only one throwing for the first 2 minutes, Manny would pick his spots and then in the last minute would just wail away on Bradley. If you watch the replay of round 4 you might think it took place outside of your least favorite bar. Sloppy stuff. From round 7 on Pacquiao tended to omit last minute efforts. His punches weren’t as hard or effective as they were in the early rounds as it looked like he was about to knock out Bradley.
Essentially it looked like he completely checked out of the fight. He seemed to be playing smart, not opening himself up to a fight changing blow, and cruising to an easy win. Bradley changed he strategy and settled in, but it seemed to be too little too late. Bradley seemed to have won the last few rounds but it appeared that Pac had already had too much on the scorecard. Apparently not.
The Cards: Follow this (http://sicounterpunch.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/scorecard-641.jpg) to see how the fight was actually scored. You will notice that there were only 3 rounds that all 3 judges gave to Pacquiao (3,4, and 6) and 3 that they all gave to Bradley (7,10 and 12). Rounds 3 and 4 were the only 2 that Pacquiao absolutely destroyed Bradley. Manny was getting the shots he wanted and Bradley was moving his head about like one of those punching bags (http://www.clown-ministry.com/images/bozo-the-clown-bop-bag.jpg). Round one seemed to have clearly gone to Bradley as he was the aggressor and Pacquiao didn’t counter enough to win the round.
You could maybe make a case for round 2 as a tossup as well as any of the last 6 rounds (at least 3 out of the last 6 rounds should have gone to Bradley). The scorecards are not completely ridiculous, but they don’t seem correct either. The one glaring mistake on the 2 scorecards in favor of Bradley seem to lie in round 5. I’ve only watched it live, but I don’t remember Bradley showed that would lead to him beating Pacquiao in that round.
The Conclusion: Bradley should not have won this fight. This is an injustice to Pacquiao, but he also didn’t give everything he had. At most you could make a case that Bradley one 5 (MAYBE 6) rounds of this fight, round 1 for sure and 4 of 7 other rounds (2 and 7-12). Manny won, but its not as 1 sided as ESPN will tell you. This was not an 11-1 fight. They keep showing a stat of the number of punches thrown and landed (a stat that heavily favors Pacquiao). Keep in mind that a majority of these punches were thrown in the first 6 rounds of this fight, when Pacquiao was actually fighting. I understand that there are a lot of people out there who make their living off of boxing who are putting up 11-1 scorecards, but I just cant see it.
At least 1 of those last 6 rounds should go to Bradley. So please just form your own opinion about this scoring decision. Don’t listen to everything to hear on the bottom line. The fight was not that one sided and Bradley truly did an amazing feat by merely finishing all 12 rounds let alone legitimately winning some of the later ones. If Manny was more aggressive in those rounds, nobody would be talking about this fight. He could (and should) have buried Bradley in the 5th, but instead he played it safe, assumed he had it wrapped up. He DID have it wrapped up, but he shouldn’t have let off the gas and given the judges and opportunity to screw him. Not blaming him, but if you’re the best boxer in the world, you should give 100% every round.
The Sequel: Last I heard there’s already a rematch scheduled for November. That should be…interesting? I don’t see what there is to gain from this fight other than money. Bradley will have a decent shot at legitimately beating Pacquiao (assuming he develops a punch that knock Manny back in his stance). Manny needs to get his mind on the ring and off the Celtics and Congress, or just get out of the sport completely if he’s not going to be into it. He’ll end up ruining the sport he almost saved.