Heated Comments about Saturday’s Controversy
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Shock. Outrage. Disgust. Speculation of a “fix.” Taunts that boxing is dead; the sport is corrupt. Threats to boycott a future rematch. And promises of switching to MMA. These comments and more have come tumbling down since Saturday night’s latest “black eye” in boxing.
When the split decision victory for Timothy Bradley Jr. over Manny Pacquiao was announced, it wasn’t just the fans in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand in Vegas that were left stunned. Seems like the entire boxing universe has become unglued with this latest–and loudest–controversy in the sport.
I watched the HBO PPV with a group that included boxing writers, trainers and photographers. For the record, we all picked Pacquiao to win before the match began in my informal poll. Leading up to the fight, the muscle-bound Bradley had shown the world his resolve and game face to dethrone the superstar. His expression at the weigh-in was solid and serious but he remained a betting underdog in the fight. And during the contest, everyone thought Manny did enough to capture another win. Arguably, this wasn’t the same Pacman who destroyed Ricky Hatton or crushed Antonio Margarito. But this newly spiritual fighter also appeared sharper than he did against Shane Mosley or Juan Manuel Marquez. At the end of the 12 rounds, I had it 118-110 for the Filipino icon and everyone else in the room did not feel it was a close fight. Entertaining to watch? Yes. But a razor-thin close competition? No.
Pacquiao appeared to be winning the majority of rounds as CompuBox supports. He was the reigning WBO champ and as they say, you have to take the title from the champion. But after the official scores were read (Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Pacquiao, Duane Ford and C.J. Ross scored it 115-113 for Bradley), Bradley was declared the winner. HBO’s “unofficial” ringside scorer and Hall of Famer Harold Lederman tallied it 119-109 for Pacquiao.
And the growing consensus among fight fans watching was that Bradley was didn’t “take” the belt, he was “given” the title–along with a $5 million dollar payday–as the biggest debate flared up in an instant. After the PPV screen went dark, we in the room sat in stunned silence until one man couldn’t contain his disgust. After watching the 12-round clash, he stomped his foot and said: “Fuck boxing! I will NEVER watch again.”
It isn’t so much that everyone “wanted” Manny Pacquiao to win–it’s just that everybody wants a fair fight to take place. Plain and simple. And right after the Palm Springs underdog was crowned the NEW WBO welterweight champ, the social media and websites lit up. Since then, the weekend brouhaha has NOT gone away. It’s gaining steam with several groups even going so far as to get 20,000 signatures on a petition to have the decision overturned. Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum (who promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley) has stated he thinks an “independent investigation” should be conducted–before their much-ballyhooed November 10th rematch can be made.
The disgust and disbelief continues. Interestingly enough, before the Pacquiao-Bradley match began, the fight card featured a stunning KO that had fight fans declaring: “THIS is why I love boxing!” Veteran Randall Bailey faced off against Philly favorite Mike Jones in a non-eventful match–until the late round knockdown and knockout of the previously unbeaten boxer. As the 37-year-old Bailey cried tears of joy, showed genuine appreciation in winning an IBF belt, we were reminded that in a fair fight, all it takes is one punch for the underdog to capture glory. This is why we love boxing.
But in witnessing the Pacquiao vs. Bradley showdown, the fans do not feel that the judging was fair. The majority decision ruling for the “Desert Storm” prizefighter from Palm Springs has really sparked outrage, fired up heated debates and unfortunately, extended even more controversy in our sport that’s been conspicuously maligned of late.
Boxing fans aren’t stupid. They can smell a rat. And the fight aficionados have certainly weighed in with their opinions.
Many have wondered aloud if this Pacquiao defeat was “karmic payback” for the Juan Manuel Marquez decisions he got. Others think this was a sham, a set-up for their fall rematch–and possibly a trilogy between the two. And several think Floyd Mayweather Jr. was sitting in his jail cell having the last
Photo by Chris Farina
Impassioned pleas from those in the boxing circuit continue to ignite discussions about this “horrible” decision in a battle that had no facial cuts, no bloodletting, and no knockdowns.
Immediately after the the Bradley victory was announced, the opinions came pouring in–full speed ahead.
Scanning my news wall, I noted some of the BEST heat-of-the-moment thoughts made by those in the know–fighters who have been in the ring, past and present champs who know what it’s like to be in those four corners.
One must remember that some these comments came just seconds after the Pacquiao defeat. But check out what some pro champs and current boxers had to say about this latest debacle in boxing (and they didn’t hold back their opinions)!
Former champ and boxing Hall of Famer GREG HAUGEN: “What a fucked up decision. It’s calls like this that turns fans off, but Bob Arum has his fingers in this mess and it stinks to high heaven. I had a hard time giving Bradley three rounds–and that was being nice.”
MMA star and Strikeforce champiion RONDA ROUSEY: “Dude, after that BS…not sure I’ll ever pay to watch boxing again, just so blatantly wrong I’m repulsed.”
Multiple-title heavyweight titleholder CHAUNCY WELLIVER: “Fight got over hours ago and I’m still feeling like I’m in a dream. Here’s what makes me sick…I’m a boxer that has to pay out of my own pocket for vision test and brain scan in order to fight, yet the old man judges who hold my life’s fate on their scorecards don’t need to get vision tests? Brain scans? WTH? Tonight was just plain bad. No other way to put it. Pacquiao won at least 11 rounds. Two retarded judges may have killed the potential biggest fight of my lifetime.”
“Contender” star, Reno hero and former middleweight champ JOEY GILBERT: “Sickening, disgusting and absurd decision tonight in Las Vegas handed out via the selected officials of the Nevada Athletic Commission. Nevada used to be regarded as the pinnacle and respected authority for boxing and combat sports. Now we are a JOKE. Governor Sandoval must must get involved here or the NV Commission will cost Nevada hundreds of millions of dollars and Las Vegas will lose its draw for mega fights. Time for some new blood all the way around including the retirement of certain judges and appointment of new members with backgrounds in BOXING. I have rewatched the fight two times now without volume and those scores for Bradley were not possible. Best “gift” scenario for Bradley STILL resulted in 8-4 decision for Pacquiao!”
Amateur fighter MIKE “MILKMAN” MARSHALL: “Bradley, where is the body shots and the angles? Create the opportunity! Floyd Mayweather would’ve took Pacman apart two rounds ago. OH MY GOD!!! IM QUITTING BOXING! FUCK THE GYM, I’M DONE WITH THIS SPORT. OH MY GOD!”
WBC Super Flyweight champ and the Pride of Pennsylvania MIGUEL DIAZ: “Wow…Think I need a new profession…This is crazy. Boxing needs a commission!”
Philadelphia pro boxer JOHNNY DIPPOLITO: “I would rather watch MARCOS MAIDANA eat a bowl of cereal than watch PACQUIAO-BRADLEY II. Manny Pacquiao rubbed his BOSS the wrong way… and that is why they FIRED his ass. Go take that fake shit somewhere else… MARQUEZ BEAT YOU anyway.”
Former fighter and California Boxing Hall of Famer RICK FARRIS: “Good workout for Pacquiao. Near shutout for the best in boxing–and they rob him! The worst decision I ever saw. Rigged! I watched the best MMA match a few weeks ago, all world class fighters, quick KOs, honest fights with no raw results. Boxing just took another step backwards. Boxing is turning on us. But we have the past, our memories, our experience and our friends. Let’s use this as a foundation to honor those who did not disappoint us.”
Photo by Chris Farina
U.S. Olympian and pro contender SHAWN ESTRADA: “WORST boxing decision! SMH”
Ex-welterweight titlist and “Contender” star ISHÉ SMITH: “De La Hoya vs. Sturm was complete BS, but they robbed Sturm to set up the Hopkins fight. Decisions are bad at times, I have seen Campillo robbed twice on national television, I saw Lara beat Paul Williams at least 8-4, that fight was so bad that they suspended the judges afterwards. Is it ok? No, it’s not. I can’t start blaming promoters and say they’re fixing fights because I don’t know that, but what I can say is this, I have seen some bad decisions over my lifetime, and no fighter is different. It’s not ok, but it is what it is, it the sport we love, the sport that we bleed, we all will continue to watch, and us fighters will continue to fight. Y’all mad at me because Manny got robbed, shit there are a lot of fighters that get robbed. It’s the nature of the beast, get over it. I’ve been robbed several times amateur and pro, it is what it is.”
Yes, folks, it is what it is. That’s boxing. Spoken by athletes who have laced up.
When this PACQUIAO-BRADLEY controversy simmers down, what’s left?
Timmy was in a wheelchair after the fight with a reported diagnosis that he injured a foot and an ankle during the scrap. There are also online reports that Keith Kizer and the Nevada State Athletic Commission will not discipline any of the three judges that gave Bradley the win. And after being immersed in his own controversies seen on HBO’s “24/7″ about gambling, drinking, infidelity and more, Pacman seems to have the boxing fans fighting for him in his first defeat since Erik “El Terrible” Morales beat him back in 2005.
Will fans around the globe really “boycott” the much-talked about November 10th rematch? Of course not. When the fires are stoked and the dust settles, we will all tune in and come back for more. Why? Because we love boxing.
The good, the bad and the ugly of it all. Right or wrong, that’s boxing.
Photos by Marlene Marquez
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