Monday, June 11, 2012

The Pacquiao Bradley Conspiracy



jumping hurdleThe boxing world is in outrage due to the unbelievable scores made by the judges in the Pacquiao-Bradley fight.  It will go down as one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history.  Bradley was awarded the win with scores of 115-113 on both CJ Ross and Duane Ford’s scorecards while Jerry Roth saw it 115-113 in favor of Pacquiao.  All three scores are hard to stomach given that the majority of the public viewed it nearly a shutout in Pacquiao's favor, with the exception of one, two, or maybe a maximum of three rounds that could have been awarded to Bradley.


Pacquiao steadily controlled the fight, rocking Bradley a few times in the first half.  Bradley was retreating, seemed confused, and was unable to get anything going for most of the fight.  Bradley arguably did more work in the last three rounds, which could justify awarding those rounds to Bradley.  Yet to have done so would have been more out of pity more than anything, as an increase in activity does not necessarily mean a reversal in momentum.  Bradley was on his bicycle, missing with a lot of his punches, and was doing very little damage with the shots he did get in.  For a "young lion" in his prime and known for his relentless attacks, Bradley seemed to act more as the prey than anything else.

Statistics also showed Pacquiao winning the fight, as CompuBox showed him landing more of his total punches.  As far as damage goes, Pacquiao also landed more of his power punches.  Relative to Pacquiao's, Bradley's power punches may not even qualify as power punches.  Pacquiao also finished the fight relatively unscathed, compared to Bradley's swollen cheeks.  The vegan diet Bradley was on probably also helped his body in keeping the inflammation relatively controlled.

There was really no question that Pacquiao won the fight.  Bradley's wife was in shock upon announcement.  And as the post-fight interviews would tell, allegedly even Bradley and his manager thought they lost.

So how could the judges have messed up the scoring so badly?  Some theories follow:

Judges' Bias

Pacquiao had a poor performance in his third fight with Marquez.  In my eyes, Pacquiao did not lose, as he was the effective aggressor and statistics showed that he landed more power punches as well as total punches. In my opinion, Pacquiao controlled the fight, while Marquez was content with merely counter punching and just did not do enough to take the belt away from the champion.  The public is used to Pacquiao obliterating his opponents, so anything less can seem disappointing.  But for both Marquez and Bradley's case, just being able to weather Pacquiao's storm and avoiding getting knocked out is not enough to win the fight.

Nevertheless, the judges took some flak in the third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.  So, perhaps the judges were more critical and insensitive towards Pacquiao in the Bradley fight.  It is quite possible this bias by the judges was going against Pacquiao and were rendering them blind to Pacquiao's work.

Gamblers' Influence

But Pacquiao brings business to Las Vegas.  The money that Bradley brings in is minuscule in comparison.  So, how could the judges even conceive unfairly going against Pacquiao?  Gambling, possibly.  With 5 to 1 betting odds, this was a chance for gamblers to rake in the winnings.  Big-time gamblers could have influenced the judges' decision with cash under the table.

Arum's Plan

Or, it could have been all part of Arum's plan.  Pacquiao had Bradley hurt at least a couple of times in the first half of the fight, but he didn't really go all out in trying to finish him.  He let him slip through, and even seemed to go into cruise control in the last three rounds.  I don't want to say the post-fight interview was scripted, but Pacquiao didn't seem too upset and seemed to almost welcome the decision and upcoming rematch.  But maybe that was because of his maturity in the sport and his new-found religious fanaticism.  I don't want to put doubt on Pacquiao, so let's look at the other circumstances.

After Bradley, was there any other fighter in Arum's stable worth putting Pacquiao against?  Not many.  Mike Jones got knocked out, Margarito retired, and Cotto just lost to Mayweather.  There is Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez.  But Arum is still building Rios up.  Another Marquez fight would be viable.  But Arum still has a contract with Bradley.  Why not squeeze as much as possible from him by having a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch before a fourth fight with Marquez?  Maybe the loss to Bradley would fuel the fire for a second match.  Unfortunately, I don't think it will work that way.  If the loss was genuine, then maybe that would have motivated the public to clamor for a rematch.  But because Bradley was beaten so easily by Pacquiao, I just don't think it will produce the desired effect.

Maybe Arum is realizing this now with the recent backfire, so he may be trying to switch into damage control to see if he can reverse the decision or make it a no-contest.  Or he may just be saying that he is trying to fix the problem, when in fact he may just be pacifying the public to save his image before proceeding with the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch.  Who knows...

On Pacquiao

Bradley is easy money for Pacquiao.  Pacquiao knows he can win again and he knows he can do so with relatively little damage suffered.  Pacquiao also had a big gambling problem that ate up chunks of his money.  An article recently had Arum saying that out of all the athletes he's worked with, Pacquiao had the biggest gambling problem, sometimes even asking Arum to wire cash advances in millions of dollars to pay off his gambling debts.  But I can't pursue such an idea (that Pacquiao would be fine with a rigged decision so that he can get a rematch and make some easy money), because I don't like to doubt Pacquiao, as I still view him as the humble, hard-working, and honorable icon that he has become.

However, I worry about the transition that Pacquiao has made over the years.  The gambling problem and ill-management of his wealth is not a good sign and certainly not attractive for someone who has ambition to become the Philippine president someday.

Pacquiao is also a people-pleaser and gives off the impression that he is easily influenced by his peers.  The shady hangers-on, such as Chavit Singson, are not exactly of the guardian angel type.  If he becomes president, I am afraid he will just become a puppet and ruin his reputation, similar to what happened to former President Ferdinand Marcos.

Pacquiao is smart (I am impressed with how well he has grasped the English language over the years), but he is simple-minded.  His embrace of Evangelical Christianity (Born Again) is an example.  Pacquiao was always religious, but he was never fanatic.  Now, after his "conversion", he seems to eat and breathe religion.  There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not ideal for a politician to be so fanatic as it affects their ability to objectively address matters.  Whether it has helped his training is still arguable.  It seems to have just replaced his old distractions, but religious fanaticism is better than gambling and losing millions.

Pacquiao's past performances are still very good, as none of the top fighters he's faced recently has even come close to demolishing him.  Yet, I can't help but notice that the fighting spirit is not as strong as it used to be.  He let Clottey, Margarito, Mosley, and Bradley off the hook in the later rounds when he could have finished them.  I don't know if that's a sign that he's losing his killer instinct and is feeling sorry for his opponents; or what...

It could be all that wear and tear of hard training over the years that is causing him to slow down in work rate.  An article recently had Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach saying that Pacquiao complained of days during the Bradley fight training camp where he felt unusually tired.  He was also not as cut as he usually is during the weigh-in, but Ariza said that this was done on purpose to give Pacquiao some fat energy during the fight to help counter the calf cramping, which could be due to a nutrient deficiency (and/or muscle imbalance).Yet, Pacquiao had a good showing in the Bradley fight, and like I said, could have went for the kill in the early rounds when he had Bradley hurt.  So, I think the fitness and ability is still there.

It could also be that he's just already content with what he's accomplished in boxing.  He really has everything now -- more than he's ever dreamed of.  Is there anything more to be hungry for?  As Pacquiao always says, it's just his job; possibly not his passion.  But he also always says that he wants to please the people.  If this is true, then I believe Manny -- that he is really is trying is his best; that he is still fighting out of pride and not just for the money; and that the fire that was inside him since the beginning is still alive today.

* * * * * * *

By the way, I couldn't help but notice Senator Bong Revilla in the audience at several Las Vegas fights.  Recently, he was at both the Mayweather-Cotto fight (May 5, 2012) as well as the Pacquiao-Bradley fight (June 9, 2012).  The Pacquiao fight would be acceptable, but the Mayweather fight?  He's not the only politician either.  I guess they have a lot of vacation leave time and that 35K PHP per month senator's salary allows them to keep flying back and forth to the US and buy front row tickets.  It's not like there are more important things for them to attend to.

13 comments:

Ray said...

Pacquiao's contract with Top Rank and Bob Arum will expire in 2013. Maybe Arum wants to as much fights as he can before that as Pacquiao might decide to leave him and keep all the winnings for himself as Mayweather does.  Another thing is that Bradley is also from Top Rank, and they make so much more money if both fighters are both from them.  Juan Miguel Marquez is from Golden Boy Promotions.  

Coconuter said...

Yeah, I noted Bradley being in the same Top Rank stable in section "Arum's Plan."  The contract expiring in 2013 may definitely be a factor, though if Arum wanted to squeeze in another fight, Pacquiao-Marquez 4 may have been the bigger draw (as Juan Manuel Marquez is a Top Rank fighter:  
http://www.toprank.com/fighters/juan-manuel-marquez ).  I don't know if Manny is aware of the real culprit or not, but I hope it motivates him to knock out his next opponent.

Coconuter said...

Also --- I don't know much about the judges' profiles, but if any of them are gay, then Pacquiao's anti-gay marriage stance may have pissed them off.  Who knows...

Tondonin said...

Lol on your Senator Revilla's thing: )

Elmoalegre said...

na shocked buong mundo sa decision ng dalawang judge...di ko akalain na mananalo si bradley....rematch in november is possible...

Elmoalegre said...

kung gay yong ibang judge napakababaw naman dahilan yon...napakapersonal naman....nagsorry na si pacquiao..siguro ok na yon...

mona gonzalez said...

One thing for sure, Pacquiao is already a boxing legend. I would rather he retire and enjoy his wealth...

Ray said...

Oh Marquez is Top Rank too...wow didn't know that...haha.  I think the judges were also counting how many times Bradley's face was hitting Pacquiao's fist as points for Bradley....LOL

Ray said...

Oo nga sana kinurot na lang nila si Pacquiao at sinabunutan.....haha! 

Botyok said...

I love boxing all my life. But with the recent controversy decreases 50% of my crave for boxing.  It makes me feel boxing is no longer sports but rather scripted same as wrestling.

bertN said...

In the mind of the 86 year old ringside judge, Bradley won the fight because he hit Pacquiao's fists with his face too many times LOL.

Cris said...

I agree with you. People around the world were disappointed about the result of the fight. I'm hoping that this anomaly would not happen again on their rematch.


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brolitz said...

Honestly I wanna say that the fight was a waste everyone's time, it was such a shame how the fight really went down, and for Bradley I'm pretty sure after seeing the tape, he felt insulted. Him being a professional boxer earning the belt for getting beat-up is not something to be proud of.


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