Boxing sucks. At least, tonight it sucked. Millions watched as one of the two greatest fighters walking the planet entered the ring this evening and painted a masterpiece performance over a younger, threatening, and much-ballyhooed competitor.
So went the decision in Las Vegas, as two of three judges committed an abomination by tabbing Timothy Bradley as a legend-killer with an unscrupulous win over world champion, pound-for-pound king, and all-time legend, Manny Pacquiao.
The jesters….’er judges at ringside all had it 115-113 with just one card going for the winner-in-common-sense-only (Pacquiao). If this were ancient Rome, you can bet your ass that ol’ Joaquin Phoenix would be cutting heads by now. HBO’s guru emeritus, Harold Lederman, had a far-reaching Pacquiao victory in the unofficial books by a count of ten rounds to two, while ESPN’s card had a similar 119-110 score after 12 rounds.
I myself, a chronic cynic guilty of always expecting the worst, was even convinced that a prime and conditioned Bradley would likely squeak out a win over the older, drama-laden great. However, my own eyes witnessed a career-performance that saw the eight-division champion notch a shut-out victory over an otherwise game contender.
Short of a knockout blow, Pacquiao did all that was necessary to win. He dictated the fight, proved to be the aggressor, outpunched, and outlanded the contender. Compubox stats concurred in showing that Pacquiao outlanded Bradley in ten of twelve rounds.
To quote the uncanny Teddy Atlas, “it’s an injustice to the sport, to the fighters, and to the fanbase.”
The only answer to this travesty is that the decision was determined by the fight outside the ring. The ongoing challenge to lure both Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. inside the ropes dictated this outcome, and why not? A Pacquiao loss gives Money May more leverage to successfully demand a 55-45 purse split. In other words, public demand and the almighty dollar trump the right call. For Pacquaio, amid whatever controversy may unfold in coming days, his record should incur nothing more than a blemish that fight fans can easily disregard.
However, nothing can make tonight’s call right. No column, or outcry, or measure of simple reason can erase the fact that a robbery occurred in Las Vegas on June 9, 2012. That is, nothing short of a full-scale investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission can make it right. The immediate suspension of all three judges’ licenses are in order, including that of Jerry Roth’s who gave Pacquiao a skimp edge of just 115-113.
Tonight’s fight was a blowout. A largely unexpected masterpiece was painted by one of history’s finest fighters, only to be stolen away by some poor, collective excuse of Thomas Crown. It’s wrong and uncalled for and deserves an in-depth look.
What happened tonight is an injustice to the sport’s history and all those who have incurred the blows to make it into the money-maker that it is today.
Boxing, at least tonight, sucks.