Regardless of what happened (or maybe didn’t happen) last time out, Manny Pacquiao is still on top of the boxing world. Alongside the momentarily incarcerated Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny is either 1a or 1b depending on who you ask, and nothing three rogue judges decided June 9th in Las Vegas changed that.
Since that fateful evening, the boxing community at large has undergone a massive shift of public opinion. As the disbelief of the decision has settled in, we as a group have seemed to move on from disgust to some quasi-sane reality where fight fans should disbelieve what they saw the first time and instead focus on every conceivable avenue possible to give Bradley the benefit of the doubt in every single round.
However, if you take the tinfoil hats off for a moment, stop locking yourselves in your rooms with the shades pulled down while replays of Pac- Bradley play on a loop (both with and without sound), several things may come to light.
First, it is absolutely clear that whether we like it or not, television announcers play a vital role in how we see a fight. There are numerous examples of this, and I’m sure someone smarter than me could put together some fancy double-blind scientific test to prove it.
It’s equally clear though, that television announcers don’t tell you what you see happening. You have eyes for that. If they tell you something that’s wrong, you can disagree. Without going too much into detail, it’s borderline ludicrous to suggest that somehow HBO’s broadcast team pulled the wool over the eyes of everyone that night, even people who watched the fight live.
Boxing writer Ryan Maquiñana posted his collection of scores from boxing media members after fight night, and his numbers suggest the outcry you read about on twitter, or heard in person from your pals at ringside or at your fight party, was spot on. It wasn’t localized to one place or one person or one method of seeing the fight.
It was a bunk decision, pure and simple.
In Maquiñana’s survey, fifty of fifty-three boxing media members (many quite well known and respected) had the fight scored for Pacquiao. Of the three who had it for Bradley, two of them had Bradley winning by a mere point. Moreover, of the fifty pro-Pacquiao cards, only seven of them had Pacquiao winning by anything less than six points.
That means forty-three of the fifty-three participants (over eight-one percent!) had Pacquiao the clear winner by a seriously wide margin.That’s exactly the fight most everyone saw the first time.
Since the fight, the fallout has gone from sure-fire robbery to well-maybe-it-was-close to oh-well-what-the-heck-maybe-Bradley-won.
I’m not buying it.
Look, it’s all well and good to question one’s scoring on a particular night. I’ve had my fair share of questionable cards in the past, too.And I assure you, it’s possible for the best and brightest to be wrong sometimes along with the rest of us. I’ve had cards in the past where I admitted I was probably wrong in my scoring after reviewing vast amounts of data that suggested it.
Case in point, I scored Cloud over Campillo from ringside when it happened. I was probably wrong. If the overwhelming evidence suggests the grass on your lawn is green, it’s green no matter how blue you may see it.You’re just colorblind.
I don’t buy the re-watch-a-thon approach to scoring fights. If you told me Cotto beat Mayweather on May 5th, I bet I could go back and re-watch the darn thing enough times to make my eyes bleed. By then, I’d give Cotto rounds Mayweather clearly won just to be true to my already erroneous and preconceived notion of “fairness”.
It’s quite silly if you ask me.
Almost everyone who saw the fight that night, from both ringside and on television, thought Pacquiao won the fight—everyone except for two of the three judges, and a very small subset of respected media members.Everyone else had it for Pacquiao, even the WBO judges who re-watched it for what seems to me like lip-service treatment (they cannot or will not reward Pacquiao the belt back). Even they couldn’t muster one measly scorecard to give the fight to Bradley. It was five to zip for Pacquiao.
So now that we’ve established what we all saw happen the first time, what should Pacquiao do next? One obvious choice would be a rematch with Bradley, right?
Who wants to see that fight? Pacquiao won handily the first time on most cards, and the fight wasn’t exactly a barnburner either. It was a boring, one-sided affair I’d rather not have to witness again. After Bradley tasted Pacquiao’s power in the early rounds, he decided it best not to engage him the second half of the fight. If that’s his big plan for the rematch (and it should be since he was bogusly rewarded for it by two of the three judges at ringside) then count me out on that one. Not even HBO’s 24X7 spectacle of hype could put enough lipstick on that pig to make it worth a penny to me. Let’s put it this way: Tecate’s rebate would have to pay me enough to come out ahead in the deal, and something tells me that’s not happening.
No, there is only one real fight out there right now for Pacquiao.With Mayweather in the pokey and Cotto coming off a loss and needing to rebound, only arch nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez stands any real test of reason.
Before their last fight, I took a lot of heat for telling anyone and everyone who would listen to me to just say NO to Pacquiao vs. Marquez 3.After all, Manny had moved up in weight so easily and effectively, and Marquez had struggled to win a round against Mayweather in his move up past 140. It was a total mismatch, I thought.
Boy was I wrong.
These two guys make beautiful music together no matter how you slice it. After seeing that one, they could fatten up to heavyweight, and I’d watch.They could sell me a ticket to Pacquiao vs. Marquez 10 live from Shady Grove retirement home, and I’d be there. I’d watch these guys fight on the moon if I had to.
And who knows, for all the cries of robbery against Bradley, Marquez fans might finally feel like their guy would get his due respect scoring wise.Every fight has been close. Maybe this time fight fans would finally see a definitive win for one of the competitors. While Pacquiao has won twice, and earned a draw once, in reality every fight has been razor thin no matter how you slice it, and Marquez has likely earned at least one win on his ledger if not more.
It’s Pacquiao vs. Marquez 4 or bust for me, and anything else would be almost as much of a waste as rescoring Pac-Bradley again to convince myself I’m wrong.