Controversial, corrupt, fixed, robbery, disputed, a disgrace. These were just some of the words being thrown around two summers ago by millions of people around the world after Timothy Bradley was awarded the WBO welterweight championship of the world in Las Vegas. With two of the three judges ringside scoring a victory for Bradley over Manny Pacquiao. But ,was it really the without-dispute, complete travesty it was labeled by HBO and the boxing world?
In a recent poll done by The Ring magazine, only 3 out of 50 highly esteemed boxing analysts scored the bout for Timothy Bradley, and all three had Bradley by slim margins. Many of those scorecards however were given promptly after the bout took place in 2012, and in this sport it is imperative to view certain fight multiple times. Controversial fights such as Bradley-Pacquiao can sometimes leave a viewer with 5 different score cards in 5 different viewings of the same fight. With Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley colliding in Las Vegas once more this Saturday, it only seemed appropriate to again view their initial fight in June of 2012. Scoring the bout to the best of the abilities that this writer can summon. Here is a round by round score card:
Bradley was able to control the first round for the first 2 minutes and 45 seconds of the stanza until Pacquiao unloaded two left hands. The crowd on hand and the people at HBO seem to think it stole Pacquiao the round, but not quite.
Pacquiao comes out in round 2 with more intensity. And after the first minute of action, Pacquiao unloads a few of his famous 1-2 combinations on Bradley. Pacquiao also closed the round strong to take the second clearly.
After a good first minute and a half for Tim Bradley, Pacquiao let his faster hands go to seize control. Pacquiao connects with some nice combinations to win the third.
When Pacquiao lets his hands go, and ups his punch rate, he distances himself from Bradley. He opened up the fourth throwing enough punches at a decent rate, and then closed the round in the final forty seconds. Bradley was momentarily stunned by Pacquiao’s late onslaught.
The pace slows in the fifth. After neither man leaves any imprint in the first two and a half minutes, Pacquiao comes on with a late flurry to take another round.
An incredibly close round to score. Tim Bradley was the more consistent fighter for 3 minutes of the round. Pacquiao launched another late round flurry, but this one did not produce the connects of Pacquiao’s previous batch of flurries. In a close round, Pacquiao’s lack of activity hurts him.
Bradley again is the more consistent fighter for 3 minutes of the round. Pacquiao’s speed and combination punching gets ovations from the crowd when he fires, but they were a bit too far and few between. Bradley responded to each flurry well enough along with his consistent work to win a close seventh round. Punch stats had Pacquiao connecting with 22 power punches in this round. And that ladies and gentlemen is absurd.
Bradley is not landing very cleanly, as Pacquiao has shown a very solid defense throughout. But, he continues to hunt and peck and land good body punches. Pacquiao does not start too late in round 8 however, and lets his hands go after the first minute.
After a few flurries from Pacquiao, neither man does much in the round.
After the first minute mark of the round, Pacquiao unloaded some beautiful punches in bunches on Bradley. Pacquiao connected with some his best punches all night, and had one of his best rounds in the 9th to take a commanding lead.
After having one of his best rounds of the night in the 9th, Pacquiao took a step back and rested in the tenth. Bradley took advantage. This time around Bradley won the round clearly as opposed to the slimmer margin in which he won the previous rounds scored for him.
Bradley did not do much damage in the 11th, and frankly he failed to ever truly damage Pacquiao all night. What Bradley did do in the 11th, however, was again outwork Pacquiao. Again, for the second round in a row, Pacquiao failed to summon the punch output needed to win the round.
After being in the driver’s seat all night, Pacquiao’s lead on this scorecard is now down to just one point. For the third straight round, Pacquiao made the fight harder on himself and let the door open for Timothy Bradley to make it tight on the scorecards. Bradley worked much harder in the final stanza to take the 12th.
FINAL SCORECARD: 114-114, DRAW.
Manny Pacquiao had this fight won and he let it slip through his grasp. Something very uncharacteristic of the Filipino icon. Two things Pacquiao never struggled with throughout his electric fisted reign atop the sport were: 1. Throwing a lot of punches and 2. Closing the show. Pacquiao’s unusual lack of killer instinct as of late has been attributed in the eyes of many as a showing of Pacquiao’s decline as a fighter.
At that time in June of 2012 however, this was not the problem for Pacquiao. The talent was there, he had just taken his foot off the pedal. Just like Oscar De La Hoya did against Felix Trinidad in 1999. Oscar paid for it in 1999, and Pacquiao paid for the same sin in 2012. Ultimately, Bradley did not seemingly do enough to clearly take the win himself. However, Bradley was awarded by the judges just as Trinidad was in ’99 for fighting all three minutes of every single round.
It may be unpopular, but Manny Pacquiao was not a victim of a highway robbery. Had Pacquiao fought the championship rounds as he did the rest of the fight, than he probably would not have dropped the close split decision verdict at the hands of the judges. This publication did not think Manny Pacquiao deserved to lose this fight, it should have been scored a draw. The real travesty that took place here, was the lack of credit, the utter lack of respect, and the repulsive hatred thrown towards Timothy Bradley for the fight that he fought on this night