By Ron Borges
LAS VEGAS – A lot of things are legal in Las Vegas that are not legal anywhere else. Last night robbery was among them.
After what appeared to most observers to be a lopsided victory for Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Pacquiao became the victim of not merely petty theft but grand larceny when it was announced he’d lost a split decision to undefeated former junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley.
Frankly, the decision was so outrageous as to defy description. Even the judge who ruled for Pacquiao, Jerry Roth, didn’t get it right, scoring it 115-113 for the champion. Both C.J. Ross and Duane Ford somehow scored it 115-113 the other way, making Bradley the split decision winner of the WBO welterweight title in a fight he didn’t appear to even be in after seven rounds. The Herald had Pacquiao
winning easily, 117-111.
This was the kind of decision you expect to see in the Olympic Games or the state of Texas, two places where raising the wrong guy’s hand seems to be the norm. When HBO broadcaster Max Kellerman tried to interview Bradley live after the decision his voice was drowned out by the angry crowd, which booed lustily as he tried to speak.
When the video screens showed a close up of Bradley’s face as he tried to answer the crowd reaction only intensified, especially when Kellerman mentioned he’d remained “undefeated.’’
Kellerman then turned to Pacquiao and asked him his thoughts. As he spoke a text appeared on my phone from an NFL player with a deep love for boxing. It read “I’m done with boxing!!! Trash! Worse nonsense I’ve ever seen.’’
Pacquiao was then asked if he thought he won. Normally exceedingly polite Pacquiao said, “No doubt.’’
Every effort Bradley made to speak was then drowned out by the crowd, even when he said “I gotta give Manny a rematch.’’
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) agreed saying, “I don’t know what happened. Most of his punches hit my arms. I did my best but my best wasn’t good enough, I guess.’’
Pacquiao’s much discussed return to the Bible and a purified lifestyle didn’t prevent him from hammering Bradley with stiff left hands all night long as if he were a nail that needed to be stubbornly beaten upon.
That he did for 12 mostly one-sided rounds, repeatedly landing straight left hands inside the former junior welterweight champion’s wide hooks. Yet in the end he got what Juan Manuel Marquez kept getting the three times he appeared to beat Pacquiao – which was a fleecing.
According to CompuBox statistics, Pacquiao landed more punches than Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds with another round even. That meant Bradley somehow won a fight in which he was outpunched in all but one round.
For the first three rounds Bradley was the aggressor despite saying later that he badly turned his ankle in Round 2 but Pacquiao was landing the more powerful and more effective punches. Emboldened by what was happening, Pacquiao turned up the heat in Round 4, catching him late in the round with a flurry of punches that included a stinging left hook that snapped the challenger’s head back and sent him
Much of round 5 was spent with Bradley in retreat for the first time but Pacquiao lured him into what he steadfastly said he’d avoid in the days leading up to the match – a dog fight. He did not fair well once one broke out...unless you asked C.J. Ross and Duane Ford.
Photo by AP
Timothy Bradley, from Palm Springs, Calif., goes on the offense against Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, in their WBO world welterweight title fight Saturday, June 9, 2012, in Las Vegas. Bradley won the fight by split decision.
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