Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Boxing has undergone many damaging decisions in recent years that stunk of either incompetency or worse… corruption. From Erislandy Lara’s loss to Paul Williams and Richard Abril’s recent defeat to Brandon Rios to the current; a June 9 duel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Timothy Bradley‘s points victory over Manny Pacquiao will only be official in the record books as the latter threw more shots, landed more often and bossed the contest.
Official verdict: Bradley via majority decision (115-113, 113-115, 115-113).
Transformations… both of a personal and physical nature, were cited to be potential problems for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38ko) going into the Bradley (29-0-0, 12ko) contest as his relationship with his God tightened and his age continued to increase. For the first two and a half minutes of the first round it appeared the criticisms of the Filipino were not unwarranted as Bradley boxed around Manny, forced the fight and could duck away from Pacquiao’s power punches. That was, until, the final 30 seconds when Pacquiao burst into action and threw three big left hands, all landing and all troubling Bradley.
It is with that late success that Manny returned to his stool with the ten score for the round and he took that confidence into the start of the second as Bradley continued to leak left hands to his face. While Bradley showed greater dimensions to his tactics – he found the body relatively easily as he tucked gloves below Pacquiao’s guard, he had good balance and showed a good boxing appreciation – it was Pacquiao who reaped success with pure power and was visibly able to knock Bradley back a step whenever he landed one of his huge lefts. That italicized word is one of the crucial factors that judges at ringside should have taken heed from when inking their scores. On that basis, the fight was Pacquiao’s.
In the second quarter of the fight, Pacquiao’s ability to land the left hand continued to either drive Bradley back, force him to tie-up or make him retreat. The American traded less and used ring movement more often, yet it was the Filipino who had the markings of a man in a fight as, at the end of the fifth, he was bleeding from the mouth.
In round six, Bradley appeared to establish an authority on the fight, but, like the opening stanza, Pacquiao rallied well in the final minute and wrested the higher score away from Timothy as he battered him into the ropes and just teed off, landing southpaw jabs, flurries and a right hook to the body. As the rounds progressed, the extra dimensions to Pacquiao’s game rose to the fore and each one proved too complex for Bradley to figure out – his defence just wasn’t built to cope.
A decline in Pacquiao’s activity occurred in round eight, yet Bradley did not offer much himself to capitalise on the lag in output to steal the round for himself. The slump in Pacquiao’s productiveness may have been fatigue… he was breathing out of his mouth and, even in round nine and he was boxing sluggishly.
In the championship rounds, Bradley was efficient, just not spectacular. He jabbed well, showed signs of counter-punching ability and boxed Pacquiao. The late bursts from Manny that won him the rounds earlier in the fight, though, had vanished and so there was more of a case to make that Bradley had turned it around – albeit far too late in the fight.
Pacquiao – who lost his WBO welterweight world championship to Bradley via a majority decision call – was the aggressor. He was the ring general. His power was the more damaging out of the two fighters. He was more accurate and he landed more often than Bradley… yet, when it came to the judges decision, there was undeniable controversy as it was the latter – the seemingly more inferior boxer – who left the ring with an outrageous majority decision victory.
Bradley had clearly been hit with the harder shots but the most damaging blow was dealt to boxing.