Manila, Philippines – To this day, it is pretty hard to believe how Saranggani Congressman Manny Pacquiao fell prey to a controversial split decision that took the world by storm. Shocking is an understatement considering how many scored it on their own and seeing the Filipino pride leading by a mile.
Bradley did put up a good fight, especially in the latter rounds. But the question remains – were they enough to defeat an aggressive and dominant Pacquiao?
The judges who voted for Bradley (C.J. Ross and Duane Ford) think so. But put that up against a world who followed the match on pay-per-view who scored it otherwise will certainly be an issue that would be pretty much hard to justify.
Many saw Pacquiao leading by a mile, much of which were piled up from the earlier rounds. But come the latter rounds, Pacquiao may have become overconfident since he knew for a fact that he was way ahead and perhaps thinking that Bradley could only win if he would knockout Pacquiao.
A win by decision was what most had expected, unanimous considering the supposed dominance of Pacquiao as the bell rang ending the 12-round bout. The announcement of the results froze the whole world, a decision that will go down in history as one of the worst decisions ever for a boxing event and probably the worst one.
Also, consider the fact that Bradley practically conceded when promoter Bob Arum approached him. Bradley conceded (to Arum only) but all that changed when he was adjudged the winner by split decision.
Outrageous? Shocking? For sure it was.
Some say that viewers were drawn to the fact the Manny Pacquiao’s popularity overcame the actual outcome. But does that include the boxing analysts, experts and reporters who actually scored and saw the match?
Also, statistics show Pacquiao far ahead. Taking into consideration that Pacquiao is pretty popular, does that count too?
The bout is set to be counted among the worst ones in boxing history and while a rematch is already set for November, many are saying that they were all planned. In fact, Arum is caught in the middle of it all.
But wait, Arum himself said that the rematch will have to wait as he wants an investigation on the controversial victory. Will it happen?
For now, everything is up in the air and Tim Bradley is sitting pretty (in pain due to fractured ankles) holding the title belt. Sitting because he cannot actually stand firm on his two feet after taking a beating and yet he claims he planned it all along. Do you buy it?
If the decision was something protested only by Filipinos or people close to Manny, then maybe perhaps it can be considered a case of sour graping. But that is simply not the case. People who followed the fight, regardless of race and ethnic origin are crying foul and yet there is no admission of an error somewhere? Is the boxing world now flawed?
Many have called a boycott, some classifying the sport of boxing as now a business. Who are the culprits behind it? Is there a group behind it or is it simply a case of human judgment error.
Judgment in the sense that prior to the match, reports of Pacquiao being called as arrogant were afloat. This all started when he was said to be late for the event because he was watching the NBA Eastern Conference finals which saw his favorite team, the Boston Celtics, fall to the mighty LeBron James-led Miami Heat. Was this a factor?
Bradley has agreed to a rematch and surely Pacquiao will take it. The question is will it actually be in November after promoter Bob Arum is seriously pursuing a probe on the big mess.
Whatever happens, a rematch will definitely be held. But the buck doesn’t stop there. Manny Pacquiao cannot afford to just win by decision. It has to be a knockout win or else.
In a way, Pacquiao fans are feeling what Juan Manuel Marquez fans felt when the latter lost to Pacquiao. The scenario is practically the same only that it was pretty much closer than this one.
So if Pacquiao really wants to earn the confidence and respect of his millions of fans, it has to be something convincing and familiar – the Pacquiao of old who would floor his opponents. Would that be too much to ask?
If Manny Pacquiao is unable to do that, then it may be time for him to do the unthinkable – retire.
That would perhaps be the hardest decisions the congressman will have to make, leaving the sport that brought him to where he is right now. Either that or Pacquiao may find himself falling rock-bottom. (Brian Yalung)