It takes a lot to shock the sport of boxing but it happened on Saturday night in Las Vegas. What happened in Vegas certainly didn’t stay there this time – it was a global sport sensation within minutes.
The legend from the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, was defeated by Timothy Bradley in a welterweight world title bout.
Well, that was the official result decided by three judges after 12 rounds of fighting. Most independent observers gave Pacquiao the points necessary to win, but it was the decision of two of the judges that was all-important.
As soon as the verdict was read out, boos and jeers rang around the MGM Grand. Interviewed after the fight, Pacquiao said that he “absolutely” believed that he had won.
“I didn’t listen to the announcement because I thought I had won (verdicts from) all the judges.
“I respect the decision, but 100 percent I believe I won the fight. I don’t even remember if he hurt me one punch. He got me with a couple of jabs but I don’t remember if he hit me a solid punch in my face.”
“I give Bradley credit, maybe three rounds for him because in some rounds I relax. Aside from three rounds, every round I hurt him.”
The Philippine Inquirer’s front page was dominated by coverage of the decision.
Bradley diplomatically said that he would watch the fight again before deciding if he had won or not. He also said that he was happy to have a rematch in November.
The outcry put the American in a difficult position. “There were three judges there and that’s the way two of them saw it,” Bradley said. “What do you want me to say? They judged it.”
The statistics backed the Asian star. Compubox, a computerized scoring system that records all punches, had Pacquiao well ahead.
Pacquiao connected on 253 punches to Bradley's 159, with a 63-51 advantage in jabs and 190-108 in power punches.There are whispers that promoters wanted a lucrative rematch, and Twitter reported that a good deal of money was placed on a Bradley win just before the fight started.
ESPN’s well-known boxing writer Dan Rafael pulled no punches as he gave his verdict on the verdict, which he called one of the worst in the history of boxing.
“It was a shocking result after Pacquiao had spent virtually all of the fight beating Bradley to the punch, strafing him with power shots from both hands and visibly rocking him on multiple occasions.
“Frankly, Pacquiao looked dominant,” he added.
Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis tweeted: “Unbelievable! #PacBradley This is another stain on boxing. Even worse than my draw with Holyfield! #Disgraceful.”