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On the Soapbox: Boxing’s constant black eye

Pacquiao/Bradley decision has boxing fans screaming corruption…again!

Manny Pacquiao (right) out punched Timothy Bradley, and hurt him a few times, but the judges gave the fight to Bradley.  Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas called the decision a case of “incompetence or corruption.” 

Photo by Julie Jacobson (AP)

Please do not argue with the Sports Editor.  That is like expecting three trained boxing judges to hand out the correct decision.  It just will not work out.  Illustration by David C. Brown

Article originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)

Pacquiao/Bradley decision has boxing fans screaming corruption…again!

The statement “this is another black eye for boxing” is not true.  Because boxing always has a black eye.  Actually, boxing always has two black eyes because there is always a scandal.  At some point we have to stop being shocked by a sport where the outcome appears to be driven by money and not true competition. 

When the judges come into play, forget about who should win the fight based on what happened in 12 rounds of ring action, it becomes more about what will best serve the individuals who are making boat loads of money off of these mega matches. 

If it was just about the action in the ring, then Pernell Whitaker would have defeated Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar de la Hoya, and Jose Luis Ramirez (Chavez fight was a draw); Lennox Lewis would have been given the victory over Evander Holyfield instead of a draw; George Foreman would not have ended his career losing to Shannon Briggs; and in the greatest robbery of them all, Roy Jones Jr. would have collected his gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics when Park Si-Hun did not deserve to be in the same ring with him. 

Boxing has a long history of this non-sense, and the Pacquiao/Bradley debacle is just another example of what we already knew.  Legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas had the best post fight quote when he said that it is either “incompetence or corruption” by the judges.  Because there is no way that a competent person could watch this fight and give it to Bradley, and if the judges were of their right mind, and still gave the fight to Bradley, then there is something funny going on behind the scenes. 

On two of the scorecards Bradley won the fight seven rounds to five.  On the third card Pacquiao won 7-5. 

Pacquiao out right won at least seven of the 12 rounds, which would give him the fight.  Out of the other five rounds, only one would clearly go to Bradley.  The other four rounds could have gone either way, and Bradley would have to take all of them just to make the fight look respectable. 

Usually the very close rounds goes to the champion or the bigger draw, which was Pacquiao.  Some judges will split the even round between both contenders.  But why would all of the close rounds go to Bradley, the challenger and underdog? 

Even with the close rounds going to Bradley, why would he even get rounds that Pacquiao clearly won?  Pacquiao out punched Bradley 253 to 159, while connecting on 34 percent of his punches, while Bradley only connected on 19 percent.  When it comes to power punches, again, Pacquiao wins that battle 190-108.  Jabs?  Pacquiao 63-51, and Pacquiao had a higher connect percentage in each category. 

Punch stat numbers are not a determining factor, because the judges do not see them during the fight, but the stats support what most people saw.  That was Pacquiao dominating the fight. 

In the 5th round, Pacquiao out punched Bradley 22-8, and 18-4 in power punches.  But judges CJ Ross and Duane Ford both gave the round to Bradley.  In the 7th round Pacquiao out punched Bradley 27-11, 22-9 in power punches, and he rocked Bradley with a big time left toward the end of the round, but all three judges gave the round to Bradley. 

There were two rounds where Bradley landed nine or less punches.  Ross and Ford gave him both of those rounds. 

Some people have said that Pacquiao took his foot off the gas at the end of the fight, but he out punched Bradley in both the 11th and 12th rounds.  All three judges gave Bradley the final round, and two of them gave Bradley the 11th. 

Pacquiao out punched Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds, with the 10th being even, and Bradley out punched Pacquiao in the 9th round by one punch. 

Bradley showed up and gave a great fight, but he was still totally outclassed by Pacquiao, who was clearly a greater fighter. 

On Ross’ scorecard, Bradley needed all three of the final rounds to pull out a victory, and that was what was awarded to him.  On Ford’s card, Bradley was so far ahead going into the 10th round that he was able to give Pacquiao the 11th and still give the fight to Bradley.  Giving the 11th to Pacquiao made the score look close on his scorecard. 

Crunching the numbers, there is just no way to give this fight to Bradley.  There is no logical argument.  Again, the judges do not see the punch stat numbers, but neither do the ringside reporters, and most of them had Pacquiao winning anywhere from 11-1 to 9-3.  How could everybody be so far off from the judges? 

Boxing has lost a lot of its popularity over the past few decades, in part because all of the meaningful fights are on pay-per-view, so most sports fans do not see the sports biggest stars.  But it has also lost a lot of its luster because many sporting fans feel that the sport is fixed. 

This decision feels like it was predetermined so that there would be a rematch, which would mean another huge payday for not only the fighters, but the promoters, and in this case, Bob Arum of Top Rank. 

The Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather mega fight has not been able to get off the ground, and if it ever does, Arum would have to split the money with Oscar de la Hoya, who owns Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Mayweather. 

Pacquiao and Bradley are both Top Rank fighters, so Arum is collecting all of the money, and a second fight, and possibly a trilogy, would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  But the only problem is that the Pacquiao/Bradley fight was so lopsided that a rematch may not even be worth watching.  Who wants to pay to see Pacquiao go out and destroy Bradley to a higher degree?  The public has already seen it. 

If this fight had been close, then a rematch would have been great for boxing.  But with what transpired this past Saturday night in Las Vegas, there may not be much interest.

Does this mean that the Pacquiao/Mayweather fight is totally off?  Probably not, because the public views Pacquiao as the winner of the fight against Bradley, and nobody really needs to see a rematch. 

Even though this was a horrible decision, it does not really change the landscape of boxing.  But once again, it leads the viewers to not trust what they are watching, which is horrible for a sport that many view as being on life support.


Other bad boxing decisions

In what may be the worst decision in boxing history, Roy Jones (left) was denied a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea.  Jones out punched Park Si-Hun of South Korea 86-32, and at times it appeared that the fight would be stopped because Jones was hurting Park badly.  Directly after the fight a South Korea official was seen arguing with the judges, and the rumors were that he was telling the judges how to vote.  Moments later the decision was announced, and Park won the fight when the five judges voted 3-2 to give the fight to the hometown athlete.  Park immediately apologized to Jones, and he invited Jones to the gold medal stand when the anthems were being played. 

Pernell Whitaker was the Floyd Mayweather Jr. of his time, but when he took on Julio Cesar Chavez, who was still undefeated at the time, the judges were not about to let the trash talking Whitaker put the first blemish on Chavez’s record.  Even though Whitaker out punched Chavez 311-220 and looked like he was way ahead on points after 12 rounds, two of the judges scored the fight a draw. 

Lennox Lewis had emerged as “the man” in the heavy weight division in 1999, but Evander Holyfield was the big time pay-per-view draw of the ‘90s.  Having these two fight two or three times would have meant major bucks.  But a potential trilogy seemed to fade away when Lewis dominated the fight, out punching Holyfield 348-130.  But one judge scored the fight for Holyfield, claiming that she saw Lewis land less punches than Holyfield, and one other judge scored the fight a draw, with the third judge scoring in favor of Lewis.  The draw set up a second fight, where Lewis won. 

Forty-Eight year-old George Forman was on his way out in 1997 after a nearly 30-year career, and Shannon Briggs appeared to have a future in the heavyweight division.  But the elder Foreman pounded Briggs for 12 rounds.  Even though it was clear who should have won the fight, two of the judges scored the fight convincingly in Briggs’ favor, and the other judge scored the fight a draw. 

In 1997 Whitaker out punched Oscar de la Hoya 232-191 and scored a knock down late in the fight.  As Whitaker thought that he had won the fight, as did the majority of the ringside reporters who scored the fight, the judges gave De La Hoya a lopsided victory, 115-111, 116-110, and 116-110.  It could have been argued that De La Hoya won a close fight, but not by that much on all of the scorecards.  De La Hoya was the younger fighter who was going to be a cash cow for the sport, while Whitaker was nearing the end of the prime of his career. 

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