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Manny Pacquiao Vs. Timothy Bradley: a Replay of Injustice

June 18th, 2012 at 12:23 PM
By Sharon Scrima

HBO's replay on Saturday night of the June 9 WBO welterweight championship fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley only stirred up feelings of anger, disappointment and embarrassment over the horrific scoring that has put the sport of boxing on trial in the court of public opinion. The explanation of scores provided by judge Duane Ford on the program "The Fight Game with Jim Lampley" which aired later in the evening should serve as the prosecution's Exhibits A through D.

'Courtroom' photo (c) 2010, Clyde Robinson - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Exhibit A – Ford, along with judge C.J. Ross, scored the bout 115-113 for Bradley (7-5 in rounds). During his guest appearance with Lampley on Saturday night's second installment of 'The Fight Game', Ford described the fight as "very close" and pointed to the other two judges scorecards to substantiate that assertion (the third judge, Jerry Roth, scored the fight 115-113 for Pacquiao).

The fight was far from close. Pacquiao outlanded Bradley in 10 of 12 rounds, landing 253 (34%) of his total punches compared to Bradley's 159 (19%). The Filipino champion was the effective aggressor and drove back Bradley several times with his straight left hand. Pacquiao also exhibited excellent defense, blocking most of Bradley's slow and flat jabs. This is consistent with the CompuBox figures that show Bradley only landed 51 of 449 jabs (11%).

Ford had previously told the Las Vegas Review Journal that Bradley gave Pacquiao a "boxing lesson". If this was remotely true, the fight would not have been as close as Ford himself claimed it to be. Furthermore, the complete and utter absence of an effective jab makes this assessment all the more ludicrous.

Exhibit B - Ford went on to tell Lampley that he believed Pacquiao won the first six rounds.

“What I personally saw that night is that the first six rounds, clearly Pacquiao was the winner. It was an exciting six rounds,” stated Ford during the interview with Lampley.

Not only is this mathematically impossible since Ford only gave Pacquiao a total of five rounds, but it directly contradicts his scoring of the first half of the fight. The official scorecards reflect that Ford gave Bradley Rounds 1 and 5.

Round 5 was one in which Pacquiao landed 22 punches (34%) compared to 8 for Bradley (12%). It was Bradley's least effective round of the entire fight and it was a round with the second largest punch disparity between the two fighters. Bradley was moving backwards by the end of that round, flailing and stumbling in with his head as he tried to gain his footing to establish some kind of an effective assault. It is beyond comprehension how both Ford and Ross scored that round for Bradley.

Exhibit C – In what is perhaps the most troubling component of Ford's defense is his comments surrounding Round 4, one in which Pacquiao caught Bradley with a short left hand that left the challenger bobbing, dodging and twisting his way to survival.

“What I saw in the fourth round is that Pacquiao clearly won that. He hurt Bradley. But the Manny Pacquiao that I judged in the past would have finished him. He let him off the hook. “

There is absolutely no relevance to this point whatsoever with respect to the scoring of this particular fight. Past performance is no guarantee of future results in the stock market and it is no different in boxing where each round must be judged on its own independent merits. Letting your opponent "off the hook" in and of itself is not a judging criteria.

Putting aside this ridiculous argument for a moment, it should be noted that Bradley was not in serious danger of being knocked out in Round 4. He was hurt and clearly lost the round, but he should be credited for using his athleticism to avoid any further damage at that point. This should not be held against Pacquiao and he should not be penalized for it in subsequent rounds. Is this why Ford gave Round 5 to Bradley?

Exhibit D - Ford's final point was that Pacquiao tired in the later rounds and missed punches, while Bradley scored to the body.

Bradley did not launch any kind of consistent, effective body attack a la Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Canelo Alvarez. Since he could not land anything to the head with the majority of shots being blocked by Pacquiao's gloves, Bradley only could land to the body. However, those shots were few and far between with little to no impact.

Round 7 was another highly questionable round to score for Bradley since it had the largest punch disparity between fighters (27 landed for Pacquiao vs. 11 for Bradley). Several punches were blocked by Pacquiao and the champion's harder blows drove back the challenger. However, all three judges scored it for Bradley.

The justification provided by Ford does more damage than good for this situation. At a minimum, he is guilty of poor judgment both during the fight and in his explanation to the public.

Unfortunately, the judge, jury and executioner are one in the same in boxing and are not in the business of serving justice.

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Tags: Boxing, Canelo Alvarez, Duane Ford, Jim Lampley, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley

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2 Responses to “Manny Pacquiao Vs. Timothy Bradley: a Replay of Injustice”

  1.  Donald Lappe says:

    Great work Sharon, but such a disappointing subject. I still go back and forth between thinking “Did that really happen?” and being more disappointed than surprised – which is probably a sadder reality.

    What really stung me was when one of the judges said that Bradley gave Pacquiao a boxing lesson and felt the need to remind everyone that scoring in boxing isn’t just about aggression. but also includes defensive prowess – as if Bradley was demonstrating Mayweather-like defensive skill as he ate 253 punches over 12 rounds.

    The whole thing is unbelievable but believable, which is sad. While things like this are nothing new, with Mayweather in prison and Pacquiao taking this “loss,” the sport really seems to be in a peculiar position as a whole.

  2. Thanks a lot Donald! It is a painful, troubling subject all around. I found myself screaming at the replay after each round following that disgrace of an explanation by Ford. The scoring of Rounds 5 and 7 were especially atrocious. They really must think boxing fans are stupid.

    If anyone was demonstrating “defensive prowess”, it was Pacquiao. He blocked virtually all of Bradley’s jabs as both CompuBox and our own eyes tell us.

    I am still unable to figure out the motive behind this. A rematch with Bradley doesn’t come remotely close to the dream mega-fight with Mayweather (or even a rematch with Marquez, which I personally can do without for the 4th time).

    The saddest part is that nothing will likely be done about this. The NSAC prefers to stick their head in the sand and maintain that everything works. These judges will just be assigned to the next big fight and promoters will continue to put their own selfish interests ahead of the fighters or fans. The sport has to take a massive hit to the pocketbook before anything will change, in my opinion.

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