Finally a major fight created buzz on sports television, talk radio,
and even water coolers days after the fight. Unfortunately, as is often
the case with boxing, the discussion was for all the wrong reasons.
Corruption, travesty, and incompetence remained at the forefront of the
all too familiar “boxing is a joke” discussion. The official result
claimed that an undefeated American fighter upset an All-Time great and
international icon, but the name “Timothy Bradley” remained as anonymous
as it was when this fight was booked.
While some may claim that all publicity is good publicity, and that
this controversy will eventually lead to big business. I say that this
robbery could not come at a worse time for American boxing, and I for
one am done defending a sport that no longer deserves to be defended.
The truth is that everyone who made money on Saturday night will
continue to make money, while those who opened their wallets walk away
feeling buyers’ remorse. Their blind allegiance, time, patience, and
intelligence have been insulted before, during, and after the official
scores were read.
While several writers did an amazing job describing this latest
controversy for those who have long since opted to fill their gas tanks
rather than increase their cable bills, this writer has struggled to
find the “winners” to fill half of his column.
4. Guillermo Rigondeaux: One of the most decorated amateurs of all
time has arrived as a professional. A far cry from his November 2010
snoozer at Cowboys Stadium, on the Pacquiao-Margarito undercard,
Rigondeaux dismantled a very good boxer in Teon Kennedy. The slick
Cuban made each of his punches count, as Kennedy hit the canvas nearly
as many times (5) as his gloves hit Rigondeauz (13). With countryman
Yuriorkis Gamboa serving a self-imposed hiatus, it is now Rigondeaux who
could be on the marquee in attractive fights against attractive
opponents like Abner Mares or Nonito Donaire. Of course, these will be
fights that Top Rank will allow to marinade until about 2015.
3. Randall Bailey: Although many felt that Bailey was at his best
years ago and at a division south, he still possessed a booming right
hand that kept him as a high-risk / low reward list of opponents.
Bailey took step aside money in the past to allow his stable mate, Andre
Berto to face Jan Zaveck for the IBF crown. On Saturday, Bailey got
his chance to fight for the vacant title against the unproven Mike
Jones. Bailey did his best impression of George Foreman for over nine
rounds until a straight right dropped Jones at the end of round ten.
Jones survived and seemed to have his legs beneath him for most of the
eleventh until a vicious Bailey uppercut abruptly ended the fight.
Congrats to Bailey for winning a title and ensuring himself of being the
second most sought after titlist in the division not named Paulie
2. Timothy Bradley: No one could blame Bradley for the judges’
incompetence. The undefeated fighter carried the promotion, and did
everything physically possible to get himself in the best shape to
challenge the second best fighter in the world. I have been critical of
Bradley in the past, but I will give him credit for trying to win until
the final bell. Following the fight it was revealed that Bradley
fought with a fractured foot. Kudos to him for showing the toughness
everyone knew he had. No one would have blamed him for bowing out due
to injury, especially after losing many, if not all of the opening nine
1. Manny Pacquiao: Many questioned if Pacquiao had been slipping
after his recent performances against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel
Marquez. On Saturday, Pacquiao responded by dominating a young, hungry
fighter. Even while dominating weight drained fighters like Cotto and
Margarito, Pacquiao got trapped against the ropes and absorbed
punishment. On this night, Pacquiao seemed to be in complete control of
everything except the official scorers.
While he may regret taking his foot off the gas late in the fight, he
will only be seen as the loser in the record books. Much like when
Mosley defeated De La Hoya, or when Winky Wright dominated Felix
Trinidad; beating the man does not make you the man. When the dust
settles Pacquiao will still be able to control who he fights next. His
name will remain on the left side of the marquee, and he does not need
an alphabet title or a rematch to further enhance his legacy.
5. “Manny Being Manny”: Even if Pacquiao could be excused for
wanting to watch his beloved Boston Celtics rather than focusing on his
job, which was to headline a pay per view; the further delay caused by
him stretching his calves was disrespectful to his opponent and all the
fans that paid for tickets and pay per view. Pacquiao has put karaoke
singing, Congress, and now basketball ahead of his prize fights , and
this may or may not have finally worked against him on the score cards.
4. Peltz Boxing: Saturday Night was supposed to be a crowning moment
for the Hall of Fame Promoter. His two prized pupils were in position
to win their first major titles on the sport’s biggest stage. In the
opener, underdog Teon Kennedy failed to ever get into a rhythm and was
out-classed by Rigondeaux. Bad quickly got worse when Mike Jones was
violently stopped by Bailey. While there is no shame in getting caught
by a known power puncher, it was Jones lack of activity to disarm Bailey
that led to his demise. Fortunately for Jones and Kennedy, they have a
promoter who won’t abandon them after a loss, but the rebuilding
project will most likely take place in small ballrooms; far away from
the television cameras that long ignored them as they climbed the ranks.
3. Top Rank Inc. / Bob Arum: While many laughed off the decision to
delay the main event until the NBA playoffs concluded, I felt that this
was yet another example of disrespecting the hands that feed the sport.
Fans in the arena and at home had to sit through long stretches of
down time in order to satisfy the audience of another sport.
The stale casino setting has been criticized for years. Fight fans
have been conditioned to get to their seats in time for the main event.
By assuring that the main event would not start until after the
basketball game ended again translated poorly on television.
Not only does this speak volumes about how the Top Rank brass felt
about the undercard that they assembled, but I fail to see who this
benefited. Were there any Celtics fans who felt like paying $60 after
their hearts were broken during a franchise-altering defeat? Heat fans?
They probably shut it down before the basketball game was over.
Sure Arum was out-spoken about the robbery that took place, which
will inevitably fall on deaf ears. However,, commenting that he will
make a lot of money on the rematch echoed loud and clear.
2, Boxing fans: There simply is not a more dedicated and loyal fan
base in sports. How else do you explain pay per views exceeding $1
million buys, even though they are often put on the defensive every time
a fight other than Mayweather vs Pacquiao is made. We open our
wallets and ice boxes with the hopes we are about to see something great
that will not only justify our loyalty, but also give us the ammunition
to tell naysayers, “I told you so.”
Instead we wake up on Sunday morning with messages like: “What a
joke”, “Fixed”, “This is why boxing is dead”, and my favorite, “Get a
I, like many, remain loyal to a fault. Defend the sport to those few
who are still listening, while scouring the boxing schedule for the
next fight that will hopefully erase the sour taste left in our mouths.
However, after this latest debacle, I am forced to ask, “For who….for what?”
We are used to being treated poorly by cable networks. Many of us
tune into Friday Night fights on ESPN2 only to have to sit through
bowling, billiards, college baseball, and everything else that the
“Worldwide Leader in Sports” allows to conclude before switching over to
“live” boxing. We could shrug that off because it is on “free”
television. However, this latest pay per view spoke volumes about what
the powers that be feel about our time and patience.
Because of a poor decision to allow an NBA game to take precedence
over an evening of boxing, we were left with dead air while sacrificing a
Saturday Night and space on our DVRs.
We were forced to sit through 20 minutes of filler time between the
first and second bouts. Bailey-Jones went 11 rounds, so we only had to
wait 10 minutes until Jorge Arce was in the ring. After a disappointing
end to an exciting two rounds, fight fans had to wait 45 minutes before
Bradley’s ring walk and almost an hour before the opening bell.
The main event started at 12:10am. It’s no wonder why newspaper
editors on the East Coast long since eliminated boxing from their
Even though the main event was void of any head-butts, cheap shots,
or MMA-like take-downs, the judges’ score cards ensured that we would
once again wake up feeling embarrassed.
1. Nevada State Athletic Commission: The NSAC gets the top billing
because they were responsible for assigning three judges who handed in
scorecards that made a mockery of what fight fans had just witnessed.
Duane Ford and CJ Ross each scored the bout 115-113 for Bradley, while
Jerry Roth gave Pacquiao the nod by the same score. I feel Ross and
Ford should be suspended indefinitely, and Roth should also be punished
because his scorecard was in the same ballpark as the other two. Ford
receives top honors for incompetence for going on record and stating
that he felt, “Bradley gave Pacquiao a boxing lesson.”
Ford’s idea of a boxing lesson differed from ringside observers, the
promoter, and Bradley himself. ESPN.com conducted a poll and 87% of
over 60,000 people felt Pacquiao won the fight, including 91% of those
polled in Bradley’s home state.
Arum has since stated that he will not push for a rematch until there
is an investigation into the scoring of the bout. Commission executive
director, Keith Kizer, went on record saying that he would not “second
guess” the officials.
Arum hinted that he would take Pacquiao’s next fight to Texas, home
of a commission even more notorious for poor scoring and a
corruptuption. However, if nothing else, at least arena’s in the Lone
Star State are filled with fight fans.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers
Association of America. He could be reached for questions and comments
at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @PribsBoxing.