I have watched a lot of boxing in my life and have seen more than my fair share of robberies. When Paul Williams was given a gift decision over Erislandy Lara, it felt wrong but predictable. When Tavoris Cloud got an undeserved win over Gabriel Campillo, it was the same. Even Brandon Rios over Richard Abril (to complete the hat trick of fairly recent robberies I can remember in my post-fight haze) made sense.
But Timothy Bradley getting the nod over Manny Pacquiao in a fight that Pacquiao appeared to very clearly win makes no sense in the typical line of boxing thinking.
Timothy Bradley's biggest fight prior to this was against Devon Alexander in what was supposed to be a massively important fight but instead turned out to be a complete box office flop. He is not a draw whereas Pacquiao is one of the world's biggest superstars. The close calls go the way of the superstar, that's just how the sport works. It's not because of people getting "paid off" or anything quite so nefarious. It's usually just that these things affect the judges. They know a guy, they pay more attention to him, it makes everything they do seem bigger and better ... etc.
The Tim Bradley's of the world don't get their hand raised in robberies. My mind is blown.
On to some quick hit thoughts on the night's action:
- Given that these two are going to have a rematch, Bradley's focus has to be on dealing with the straight left hand of Pacquiao. He made a few nice adjustments to get that punch to stop landing with the frequency it was, but it was still Manny's best shot through the entire first half of the bout. His lack of power against Manny's heavy hands will remain an issue the second time around, however.
- Yes, the calf stretching thing before the start of the main event was weird, but the timing of it all was close to in line with what is expected in major boxing PPV's. As I said all week, main event fights usually start right around midnight. Mayweather vs. Cotto got going right around 11:50, Pacquiao vs. Marquez at 11:47. When Jorge Arce vs. Jesus Rojas ended early, I tweeted for people to get ready for 45 minutes of time being killed. This was before the whole "where's Manny?" bit and then finding out that he was stretching out. Camps tend to have plans based around certain start times and that appears to have been the case here. It wasn't so much that he made everyone wait as it was that the fight before ended early, creating a weird time gap and Manny simply wasn't ready to go yet.
- One thing I hope doesn't happen here is that Bradley gets treated like the "bad guy." He didn't turn in the scorecards. If anything, he deserves a lot of credit for turning in a gutsy performance and not quitting despite seeming to be outgunned and having hurt his foot/ankle early in the fight. He never stopped battling and deserves a lot of credit for the way he fought.
- It's a real shame the Jorge Arce vs. Jesus Rojas fight was stopped on the odd fouls and injury in the second round. That was setting up to be a typical Arce-style barnburner.
- Mike Jones was failing in so many different ways before getting KO'ed by Randall Bailey. Jones was supposed to be in the "showcase" position, but fought a horrible, boring fight. He may have been winning, but no one was going to be interested in watching him fight again when it was all over with. Getting KO'ed on top of that performance could actually be the end of Jones getting chances on big stages.
- How cool is it that Randall Bailey won a title tonight? You could go into a whole discussion about what titles are legitimate and all that, but, watching Bailey break down in tears after winning, you need to understand that these titles have very real meaning to the men fighting for them.
- Guillermo Rigondeaux is really good and Teon Kennedy was nowhere near his level. With all of tonight's drama, that opening fight feels like it was days ago. Still, quite the showing for Rigondeaux.