Timothy Bradley Wins by a Shocking Split-Decision Defeat
Last night’s card in Las Vegas was overwhelmed by controversy in the main event, as Timothy Bradley won an incredibly controversial split decision over Manny Pacquiao. Timothy Bradley had youth and confidence on his side. Manny Pacquiao possesses power and speed in abundance. Pacquiao made good use of his skills to pound Bradley, but he couldn’t convince two of the judges at ringside that he did enough in one of the worst decisions in recent boxing history.
So Bradley was awarded a 12-round split decision before a stunned crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. Somewhere in a jail cell at the Clark County Detention Center, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was screaming in outrage.
“This was totally insane. What do you say after that?” promoter Bob Arum said. “Nothing has stunned me more than this decision in my career in boxing.”
Judge Jerry Roth scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao, while judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford each scored it 115-113 for Bradley. The Daily News scored it 116-112 for Pacquiao.
“I did my best. I guess my best wasn’t good enough,” Pacquiao said. “I’ve been watching tapes of Bradley’s fight in preparation. Tonight he never hurt me. Most of his punches hit my arm.”
Did he think he was robbed? “No doubt,” Pacquiao said. With the victory, Bradley earned $5 million and the WBO welterweight title.
Even Bradley seemed surprised by the decision. He was booed lustily by the crowd after the fight. There certainly will be a rematch.
When asked if he thought he did enough to get the decision, Bradley said, “I have to go home and watch it to see if I won the fight. My corner told me if I won the last round I’d win the fight.”
It looked as if Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) was on his way to a bounce-back victory before the scorecards were read. He appeared to have lost the zip on his fastball in a controversial decision over Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12. Pacquiao wasn’t spectacular against Bradley, but then he didn’t need to be. Instead he was workmanlike in taking apart his foe.
Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) proved that he could hang with the big boys. But he didn’t appear that he had enough to take down a world-class caliber boxer.
Pacquiao opened up a blistering barrage of combinations that stunned and wobbled Bradley late in the fourth round. But he couldn’t put Bradley on the canvas. Bradley closed the round by landing a sharp left to Pacquiao’s chin, an indication that he was still in the fight.
By the sixth round Pacquiao had shifted into stalker mode. He was walking down Bradley, who had slowed down. It looked like Bradley’s plan to counterpunch, something he had taken from tapes of Marquez’s fights against Pacquiao, had been shelved.
Pacquiao’s speed and power were too much for Bradley. Before the fight those were the two things that Bradley said he didn’t fear about Pacquiao. But as the fight wore on, those were the two things that seemed to be his undoing.
Much was made before the fight of Pacquiao’s rededication to religion. He had always been a practicing Catholic, but he had taken to regular Bible study after his infidelity, gambling and late-night carousing threatened to end his marriage. He had blamed those vices for his lackluster performance against Marquez.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, had applauded the new adherence to strict moral principles. He said it made Pacquaio more focused and had him coming into training fresher each day.
Bradley had come into the fight supremely confident that he could take advantage of any and all of Pacquiao’s weaknesses. If Pacquiao’s skill level had slipped at all, Bradley said he was ready to exploit it to his advantage.