• Steve Bunce

Pacquiao to avenge Bradley defeat, then target Floyd

Steve Bunce June 12, 2012

The Manny Pacquiao v Timothy Bradley decision on Saturday was not just wrong - it was bemusing. I can't see who benefits in any way from a judges' vote in favour of Bradley, the new WBO welterweight champion.

In the past, when big name fighters, or house fighters, or promoters' fighters, have been given tight or bad decisions, you can see why it's happened. You can suspect that the referee and the judges may have been influenced by the crowd or the big-name favourite.

In fact, I've said previously that judges have gone into the ring wearing what I call "Pac Man goggles". Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez last November, when Marquez was wrongly denied victory by the scorers, was a classic example of that. The judges only saw what Pacquiao did. This happens in a lot of fights and it has happened since men first laced on gloves.

But for the Bradley battle, they managed to take the "Pac Man goggles" off, and put on something else - something quite bewildering. They've not just gone against Pacquiao, they've gone against every single person (well, nearly - there are a couple of mavericks) that you speak to: professionals, wannabes, unknowns, secret geniuses. It's staggering.

I was running through my Twitter the night of Pacquiao-Bradley and I was getting hundreds of tweets. In the four or five minutes between the final bell and the announcement of the decision, there was not one tweet saying that Bradley had won. Not one and perhaps a hundred came in.

I checked boxing websites to see what people were saying: I found one guy who thought Bradley won by a point. One guy. However, since the verdict came out, I've had hundreds of tweets from people claiming Bradley won by three or four rounds. Rubbish.

Even the judge that voted for Manny is still out of sync with the rest of us: if he'd have gone 118-110 or similar (I had it eight-four to Pacquiao), you could see it. But he had it 115-113. I think there is a chance that the judges have over-compensated following the post-Marquez backlash.

"Ultimately, three people at ringside got it wrong - and one got it less wrong than the other two."

All the same, this was not as bad a decision as in Marquez v Pacquiao last November. In that fight, Manny deserved to lose: he was disinterested - in fact, he just wasn't there. This time, Bradley deserved to lose in my opinion because he was hurt, confused and clueless for long stretches.

I know he injured his ankle and was brave, but he trudged back to his corner at least six or seven times with a look of despair and defeat on his face. His team looked like they were tending to a beaten and broken man.

Ultimately, three people at ringside got it wrong - and one got it less wrong than the other two. It goes on a lot. What perhaps needs to happen is that a super-body of touring officials is formed, although that would be IMPOSSIBLE to put in place. The main problem is: who funds the international team of experts.

I think there'll be a rematch: Manny's been talking about it, and I think it'll be back in Vegas rather than, say, Texas. And in meeting No. 2, I guarantee the judges will over-compensate once again, and the "Pac Man goggles" will be back on.

To try and avoid that, promoter Bob Arum could say, "I've looked round the world, spoken to 50 of the best boxing experts. They've given me their list of the top three judges. I've now compiled that list, and the top three judges in the moment are: A, B and C. I'm going to get A, B and C to ringside." It would generate some great publicity.

Maybe he does that. He knows there is a need to be seen to be doing the right thing - it has been a bad few days for boxing. Bad, but that is not the same as corrupt or fixed.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.