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"I'll make a lot of money off the rematch, but this was outrageous."
June 11, 2012 8:19 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday night in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao, widely acknowledged as one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in professional boxing, was defeated by Timothy Bradley in a controversial split-decision. HBO's long-time unofficial ringside scorer, Harold Lederman, called the outcome "a crime."

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents both Pacquaio and Bradley, was the immediate target of suspicion by some boxing observers, who noted that he would benefit financially from a rematch. A photograph of a poster promoting for Pacquaio-Bradley II was tweeted by Bradley eleven days prior to Saturday's fight.

For his part, Arum has claimed outrage at the decision, and called for an independent investigation of the judging process.

The announcement of the Pacquaio-Bradley matchup failed to electrify boxing fans, who still pine for a superfight between Pacquiao and the undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (who is currently serving a three-month jail sentence for beating his ex-girlfriend). Arum is blamed by many for preventing the fight in order to keep from sharing revenues with Mayweather, who controls his own promotions employing a unique business model.
posted by BobbyVan (84 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 


I'm shocked, SHOCkED to hear that the sport of Boxing is corrupt through-and-through and stuffed to the gills with immoral, greed-heads fixing the rankings.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:24 AM on June 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


Current WWE champion CM Punk weighs in.
posted by mightygodking at 8:25 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


So a dead sport run by criminals in which two men attempt to inflict brain damage on the other is suffering through a bit of a controversy. Well now! That sure is something. Hopefully the other sport run by criminals - the one that involves tiny men beating horses - had a better week. What's that you say? Oh, the shame!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:25 AM on June 11, 2012 [21 favorites]


Pacquiano, of course, is a Philipino legislator who wants to kill gays, or at the very least is really happy saying things along those lines and only walks them back when he gets called out on it.

I still have a hard time believing that I know people who cheer him on, all other issues with boxing aside. Can you imagine if a Saudi cleric was nominated for an Oscar and people were super upset he didn't win - also he thinks women should be stoned for breathing?
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:31 AM on June 11, 2012


*Filipino, my bad
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:33 AM on June 11, 2012


I heard it was a super close match but that Pacquiao just kind of tired out towards the end. I mean REALLY close. So Bradley won. Big deal.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:33 AM on June 11, 2012


"Everybody in boxing probably makes out well except for the fighter."
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:34 AM on June 11, 2012


Maybe the judges are gay.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:35 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I watched it. It wasn't that close. Pacquiao dominated the first 5 rounds, to the point where I was expecting a knockout. Then Bradley got his 2nd wind and Manny took his foot off the gas. The next two or three rounds were probably a draw, then Bradley won a couple rounds, then the last two rounds were probably draws.

So I would say Pacquiao clearly won 5 rounds, Bradley clearly won 2 and the rest were debatable. But Pacquiao did damage in the rounds he won. Bradley was lowering his gloves, his legs looked shaky. Bradley never hurt Pacquiao at all. And Pacquiao landed almost 100 more punches. A hundred.

It was a crazy, baffling, sketchy decision. It was not a close match at all.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:37 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pacquiano, of course, is a Philipino legislator who wants to kill gays, or at the very least is really happy saying things along those lines and only walks them back when he gets called out on it.

Per Wikipedia he also endorsed Harry Reid, Jerry Brown, and Mitt Romney. I'm not really sure how to make sense of that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:38 AM on June 11, 2012


This is probably (definitely) my ignorance of the sport showing through, but I found it amusing to read the day-of reports of the controversy about how impartial observers were shocked, shocked to see that two judges had the fight scored 113-115, when it was obviously 115-113. Boxing is scored subjectively (not to the degree that, say, diving is, but not that far from, say, balls and strikes in baseball) and it's beyond the pale to have a two-point swing out of 228?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:38 AM on June 11, 2012


Pacquiano, of course, is a Philipino legislator who wants to kill gays, or at the very least is really happy saying things along those lines and only walks them back when he gets called out on it.

Yeah, that's not what happened.
posted by downing street memo at 8:40 AM on June 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


> Per Wikipedia he also endorsed Harry Reid, Jerry Brown, and Mitt Romney. I'm not really sure how to make sense of that.

It's the DP.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:40 AM on June 11, 2012


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: "I'm shocked, SHOCkED to hear that the sport of Boxing is corrupt through-and-through and stuffed to the gills with immoral, greed-heads fixing the rankings."

Your winnings from the fix, sir.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:41 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's not what happened.

He's has the single weirdest denial I've ever heard. To paraphrase: "I couldn't have said that the Bible condemns homosexuality, I haven't even read Leviticus!"

I mean, the man gets props, but it hardly passes the laugh test. He was having events cancelled because of his statements so he walked them back then and only then. Color me shocked that a professional athlete and a fervently religious politician may have strong opinions on the subject that they don't quite realize are out of touch with changing social norms.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:43 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whether or not it WAS a close match or not.. we all got to see two guys beating on each other in a skillful dance of destruction. Consider us entertained. NEXT...
posted by ReeMonster at 8:44 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Holy Zarquon: Boxing bouts are scored round by round. If you win a round, you get 10 points. If you lose, you usually get 9 points, unless you get knocked down or otherwise badly hurt, in which case you could get 8.

So, a boxing score translates to a tally of who won each round. For people who watch a lot of boxing it is often very possible to tell who won what round by watching who gets punched more often and with more force.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:44 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mean, the man gets props, but it hardly passes the laugh test.

What hardly passes the laugh test is that you think it's OK to accuse people of wanting to kill gay people without investigating the matter a little.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 8:45 AM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


We have many, many, many political threads and not a lot of boxing ones. Could you derail somewhere else, please?
posted by cribcage at 8:45 AM on June 11, 2012 [15 favorites]


I found it amusing to read the day-of reports of the controversy about how impartial observers were shocked, shocked to see that two judges had the fight scored 113-115, when it was obviously 115-113.

I haven't seen any serious boxing commentator argue that Jerry Roth's 115-113 card for Pacquaio was well-scored. Both Lederman and ESPN's Dan Rafael scored it a blowout for Pacquaio: 119-109. The AP had it 117-111.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:46 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Professional boxing has lost so much focus and direction over the years that the corruption has become about the only consistent thing about the sport. I used to follow the boxing quite enthusiastically, but they lost me years ago. I can't see them ever getting their shit together and turning it around to bring back disenchanted fans. I really miss the excitement of a good match, but there's far too much crap to wade through now to even figure out what the good matches might be.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


What hardly passes the laugh test is that you think it's OK to accuse people of wanting to kill gay people without investigating the matter a little.


This was a widely reported story and the denial came after it started to hurt his career as an advertising shill. It's fine to enjoy a professional athlete and ignore their politics, or any number of other unsavory facts about them (steroids, domestic violence, etc etc come to mind). But denying it seems weird.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


cribcage: But boxers, boxing and those of us who like it are morally contemptuous, so we just have to get used to being derailed.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2012


He was having events cancelled because of his statements so he walked them back then and only then.

Not according to that article. He said he was against gay marriage, he's still against gay marriage. The way the article was written left the impression that he also quoted Leviticus about stoning gay men, but he never said that and it was wrongly attributed to him. I'm the last person to defend homophobic garbage, but the article's pretty clear about what happened and it's not what you're saying happened.
posted by mediareport at 8:49 AM on June 11, 2012


So far I have this thread scored 188-40, Annoying.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:51 AM on June 11, 2012 [10 favorites]


But denying it seems weird.

The writer of the original story confirms Pacquiao's account of what he said.
posted by Hoopo at 8:58 AM on June 11, 2012


allen.spaulding: “This was a widely reported story and the denial came after it started to hurt his career as an advertising shill. It's fine to enjoy a professional athlete and ignore their politics, or any number of other unsavory facts about them (steroids, domestic violence, etc etc come to mind). But denying it seems weird.”

Yes, this was a widely reported story, but it seems pretty clear at this point that it was in fact based on a gross misquotation. In the original story, Pacquiao said that he was against gay marriage because homosexuality is sinful – and then the reporter himself quoted Leviticus and said that means wanting gay people to die. That's more than a small leap when Pacquiao didn't even mention the book of Leviticus or death or anything like that. Here's a pretty good Salon review of the whole thing.

Keep in mind that I think boxing is an obnoxious sport and that it should be banned, and also I am not a huge fan of Pacquiao himself. Still, this was a misquotation and misrepresentation of the man's views. He said nothing about wanting gay people to die.
posted by koeselitz at 8:58 AM on June 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


For people who watch a lot of boxing it is often very possible to tell who won what round by watching who gets punched more often and with more force.

Sounds like you've done some boxing?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:03 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The structure laid out in flarbuse's suggestions to save professional boxing would take away some of the incentive to tamper with judging to force a rematch.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:04 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


How about if people that box, watch boxing, know something about boxing, or enjoy boxing talk about boxing here. People that don't still have most of the internet to talk about other things.

How about that?
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:05 AM on June 11, 2012 [19 favorites]


Sounds like you've done some boxing?

I have never been in a boxing match, because I am not very good at boxing. But I try to learn every day when I go and hit the heavy bag that hangs from a tree in my backyard.

I have watched hundreds and hundreds of fights of various kinds over the last 15 years, though.

Were you getting at something?
posted by TheRedArmy at 9:06 AM on June 11, 2012


Brothers! Sisters! Can't we all put petty political quibbles aside and reread Joyce Carol Oates' take on things?

... The ideal conclusion of a fight is a knockout, and not a decision; and this, ideally, not the kind in which a man is counted "out" on his feet, still less a TKO [...] but a knockout in the least ambiguous sense—one man collapsed and unconscious, the other leaping about the ring with his gloves raised in victory, the very embodiment of adolescent masculine fantasy. Like a tragedy in which no one dies, the fight lacking a classic knockout seems unresolved, unfulfilled: the strength, courage, ingenuity, and desperation of neither boxer have been adequately measured. Catharsis is but partial, the Aristotelian principle of an action complete in itself has been thwarted.

See! that's what everyone's so pissed off about here: Not enough Aristotle.
posted by rmxwl at 9:06 AM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


cribcage: "We have many, many, many political threads and not a lot of boxing ones. Could you derail somewhere else, please?"

Since the derail was a libelous attack on Mr. Pacquiao, I think it's appropriate to put out the strong evidence against the claim to an audience that is largely unaware of the background, and is likely to buy into the image of a boxer as a bloodthirsty hater.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:06 AM on June 11, 2012


I've given up on pay-per-view. What's the point in paying $65 to watch a fight when the outcome isn't determined by what actually happens in the fight? Boxing is killing itself by having incompetent, if not outright corrupt, judges. I still watch boxing on HBO and Showtime, but even there I feel like I've just wasted my time when the guys paid to be at ringside scored a totally different fight to the one I saw.

Everybody respects Compubox numbers, everybody agrees they're pretty accurate, there's got to be a system where we can use them to score the 'clean punching' part of each round at least. Aggressiveness and controlling the ring are relatively binary for any given round and shouldn't be hard to score. Defense is tougher to score, but if you're getting hit with lots of clean punches, then how good is your defense anyway?
posted by IanMorr at 9:11 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]




I've given up on pay-per-view. What's the point in paying $65 to watch a fight when the outcome isn't determined by what actually happens in the fight? Boxing is killing itself by having incompetent, if not outright corrupt, judges.


It's been going on for years, and there's nothing new there in the slightest; but I think it's an endemic problem in a lot of professional sports.

Sometimes watching amateur or smaller leagues can be a lot more fun.
On the other hand, there are some incredible fighters at the top of the professional level, and sometimes you just want to see the real cadillacs of the sport go at it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:14 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll end the derail but he's not just a boxer but an incredibly influential politician. The denial, at best, is that he justified his opposition to gay rights with a reference to the bible but now insists that no, he didn't mean that bible verse about stoning, he was obliquely referring to something else and besides he's never read that part.

I guess if Rick Santorum decided to play basketball we wouldn't ever bring up his politics.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:16 AM on June 11, 2012


That's not what ending a derail looks like.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:19 AM on June 11, 2012 [18 favorites]


Guys, cut it out. Thank you.
posted by cortex at 9:20 AM on June 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I watched the fight and thought that it was not even close. I cannot even give credence to the idea that Bradley won 7 rounds. He may have won up to 4 giving him what I would call close rounds (I would have only given him 2). I would love to talk about what happened, what it means for the sport, and discuss the topic early.

But, some people came in here and made this a politics hatefest because they cannot accept that the world is about anything other than what they see through their short-sighted political optics. It must be miserable to live life in which every single thing must be passed over by some partisan divining rod and put into the camps of the good or evil.

So it goes.
posted by dios at 9:22 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]



I guess if Rick Santorum decided to play basketball we wouldn't ever bring up his politics.
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:16 AM on June 11 [+] [!]


I've never understood why people care what their entertainers think. I don't go to Brad Pitt, Mike Tyson, or Bono for relationship advice.

I figure that in a discussion about Manny Pacquiao's fight, you'd talk about his boxing career. There are a lot of interesting discussions to be had about boxing culture, globalization, poverty, wealth, the cultures these people come from, and the influence that being world class boxers can sometimes give them back home. It's a really weird, interesting corner of the world and there's a lot to think about, but coming into a boxing thread frothing about how an athlete's views sex and matrimony are inappropriate is obnoxious.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:23 AM on June 11, 2012


I watched Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on First Take talk about this an hour or so ago. They're in agreement that the whole thing stinks. That clip isn't up yet, but there's a lot of good reaction from ESPN contributors already online, especially this one from John Saunders. ESPN Boxing Analyst Teddy Atlas said there were only two options, …terrible incompetence or corruption… on Mike & Mike in the Morning this morning.

Bayless tweeted about the fight as it happened. His reaction at the decision was, "WHAT?! THIS IS THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS DECISION IN BOXING HISTORY! I SCORED IT 11 OF 12 ROUNDS FOR PACQUIAO! FLAT-OUT ROBBERY! I'M IN SHOCK!" Smith says he's boycotting Pay-Per-View fights until boxing cleans up their act.

To be honest, I haven't cared about who the world champion was since… George Foreman's second comeback I guess. I think Boxing as an industry lost the thread when Pay-Per-View took over. Part of its appeal was that you got to know the contenders as they came up through the ranks and you watched them every week. I think the last time I actually watched a fight is when George Foreman was making his comeback and Tuesday Night Fights was still on. Of course there was also the ear biting, which really turned me off to the sport. It's a bit of a shame, really.

As my interest in boxing waned, I really got into sumo for a while. The Takanohana / Akebono rivalry is one of the greatest in sports history. When Akebono finally got promoted to yokozuna grand champion, I was just ecstatic. Hawaii born Akebono was the first foreigner ever promoted to grand champion. There was also scrappy Wakanohana, Takanohana's older brother, who spent more than two years as an ōzeki champion before finally being promoted.

I hadn't really kept up with sumo like I used to since my favorites retired and they stopped showing the Japanese news early in the morning on one of our local stations. When news broke of the match fixing scandal, among other controversies, I was a little heartbroken.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:27 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gee, I guess they'll have to have a re-match to settle the dispute over the bad call. A re-match would probably draw more attention to the floundering 'sport' of boxing and boost their ratings. Maybe a few more people would actually be interested in who wins that fight and even fork over $49.50 to watch a pay-per-view telecast of the fight. They could call it something like 'the fight of the century' or the 'battle for redemption' to whip up a frenzy of anticipation. In fact, it almost looks like a controversial call could turn out to be a good thing for the fight industry.

I'll bet no one thought of that scenario. Oh, wait. They did.
posted by birdwatcher at 9:29 AM on June 11, 2012


This quote from ESPN's Teddy Atlas (in the Village Voice piece) just floors me: "Unfortunately, the scorers of rights are often incompetent. Sometimes they're more [sic] than incompetent. Sometimes they're corrupt. Boxing doesn't have a national commission like other sports do. Doesn't have a police body, like other sports have. And therefore you get this kind of situation."

I forgot that boxing doesn't have a centralized commission. I can't imagine them ever getting one in place this late in the game - there's too much money to be made when you're not worrying about a commission prying into your business. It doesn't even seem like boxing is trying to pretend it's on the up-and-up anymore.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2012


"Does Bob Arum look like a bitch?"
posted by symbioid at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I watched Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on First Take talk about this an hour or so ago. They're in agreement that the whole thing stinks.

I appreciate your self-sacrifice, but I would not call this evidence.
posted by yerfatma at 9:30 AM on June 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


This sort of thing is turning me entirely off boxing, and making me want to follow a nice, clean sport like professional cycling or Italian football.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:31 AM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


This Grantland article features a description of the conspiracy theory that circulated among the boxing media after the fight.

tldr: Top Rank likes to match fighters from within the promotion with each other, but Manny has already beaten every credible opponent from within the stable. Even though Pacquiao-Mayweather would be the biggest PPV ever, they don't want to split the money with Mayweather's company. But, there's speculation Manny will leave the promotion in 2013 and negotiate fights on his own like Mayweather.

So the conspiracy theory is that the outcome of this fight was Top Rank's way of sending Manny a message: leave us, and there's a chance you have 2 losses (after the rematch in November) and Mayweather could decide he doesn't need to fight you.

As the author says, it's likely pure bull, but it makes sense in a twisted way considering how corrupt the sport is.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:32 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I watched Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith on First Take talk about this an hour or so ago. They're in agreement that the whole thing stinks.

Stop pointing out when people agree with Skip Bayless. It's not nice.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:34 AM on June 11, 2012


mightygodking: "Current WWE champion CM Punk weighs in"

They never drop the kayfabe, do they?
posted by narcoleptic at 9:36 AM on June 11, 2012


If the men punched each other in the brain until one of them died in the ring, then there would be no match fixing and boxing would get a lot more popular.
posted by weinbot at 9:45 AM on June 11, 2012


excellent point!
posted by nathancaswell at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2012


weinbot: "If the men punched each other in the brain until one of them died in the ring, then there would be no match fixing and boxing would get a lot more popular."

Zevon: "Hurry home early. Hurry on home. Boom-boom Mancini's fighting Bobby Chicon."

Duk Koo Kim might disagree with you.

posted by Mad_Carew at 9:54 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mad_Carew, but the name of the game is be hit and hit back. Just remove the bell and let 'em kill each other.
posted by weinbot at 9:57 AM on June 11, 2012


Mad_Carew, but the name of the game is be hit and hit back. Just remove the bell and let 'em kill each other.

I fail to see how this makes sense. Yes, boxing is a sport where people hit each other, but it has rules about when and how and how much you can hit someone. Football is a sport where people move a ball down the field, but it wouldn't it better or "realer" to remove all the rules about how you do that. All sports, even combat sports, need rules.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:01 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


weinbot, ob1quixote suggests that boxing's decline began with pay-per-view. I think it had a much more precipitous decline when Boom-Boom Mancini (another Bob Arum managed fighter) killed Duk Koo Kim on live TV.
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:01 AM on June 11, 2012


Mad_Carew, Kim died many days later in a hospital. He may have been killed on TV, but he did not die on TV.

My comment was made in jest, and I do not anticipate any competitive deathmatches starting up any time soon. Still, I suspect that such a competition would result in less match fixing and higher ratings.
posted by weinbot at 10:08 AM on June 11, 2012


If you haven't seen Arum ripping into the judges - one of whom he calls "too damn old" - it's worth a watch. The bit at 2:25 where he asks, "How can you watch a sport where you don't see any motive for any malfeasance and yet come up with a result like we came up with tonight? How do you explain it to anybody?"

That is some grade-A chutzpah right there.
posted by mediareport at 10:09 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a fascinating tidbit from the Grantland article:
I was so confused by the decision that after the fight, I went back to my room and bought the pay-per-view replay (same $55 price tag as the live fight!) from Top Rank's website. Brian Kenny was calling the fight for Top Rank, and he was more pro-Bradley than anyone I had spoken to at the fight. When I watched Buffer announce the decision again, this time on the screen of my laptop, I heard Kenny explain: "That was won fair and square, in the ring." The point, I guess, was that Bradley, by moving away from Pacquiao and throwing 398 jabs into the air, had somehow outboxed Pacquiao.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:28 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Only the Ring was Square is an awseome book title, but I don't know about the book itself. I just heard about it on the radio and had to share.
posted by ecco at 10:32 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The LA Times did a round-by-round summary of the fight, which they compare to the official scorecard (an image of which is available here, along with Compubox stats). It's particularly interesting to look at Round 7, which Pacquaio clearly dominates but loses on all three scorecards.

I'm not sure how it works in Nevada, but here in New York, the state athletic commission officials overseeing a fight collect scorecards after each round and tabulate the scores themselves in the event of a decision.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:43 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could somebody explains how boxing promotions and ranking work for the totally clueless? Or should I make that an AskMe? Why would the same guy be representing both fighters? Is Arum like an agent?
posted by mkb at 10:51 AM on June 11, 2012


BobbyVan: It's particularly interesting to look at Round 7, which Pacquaio clearly dominates but loses on all three scorecards.
Thanks for this, BobbyVan. I didn't watch the fight. I agree that the L.A. Times description of Round 7 and the CompuBox scores seem to tell the tale. I'm curious if it really looked like Pacquiao was beating Bradley as badly as the numbers seem to indicate?
posted by ob1quixote at 11:27 AM on June 11, 2012


I'm curious if it really looked like Pacquiao was beating Bradley as badly as the numbers seem to indicate?

Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley - Round 7 (YouTube).
posted by nathancaswell at 11:37 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember Round 4 being the round where Pacquiao really looked like he was dominating the fight. But then, I was pretty drunk.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:40 AM on June 11, 2012


Why would the same guy be representing both fighters? Is Arum like an agent?

Arum is the promoter of the event, he's responsible for the financing, marketing and presentation of the fight in return for a chunk of the profits. Pacquiao and Bradley both have their own management teams that represent their interests, but since both fighters have signed multi-fight deals with Arum, his interests currently align with theirs, to an extent. Everyone involved has a vested interest in making the pool as big as possible, so you'll have a lot of, often manufactured, controversy before the fight, hype from the promoter, etc, but the more money the fighters take home, the less Arum does. That's where the fighters' management teams come in, they'll negotiate the promotion deal and try to get a fair one for their guy. A promoter always wants to have a deal in place with the up and coming stars, so, while Pacquiao is approaching the end of his contract with Arum and, possibly is on the downside of his career, Bradley, who is young and undefeated and now has a career-making result on his record, probably has a long term deal in place. Even if he loses the rematch, Arum will likely build him back up with a couple of big names who pose little threat instead of putting him straight back in with another marquee name.

Their are 4 main sanctioning bodies in boxing - the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO. They all confer championship belts in the different divisions (heavyweight, middleweight, etc). Someone who holds two of the belts within a division is a Unified Champion. If someone holds all four belts in a division they are the Undisputed Champion. Each organization publishes the rankings of their top boxers monthly. A boxer moves through the ranks by fighting progressively tougher opponents. The difficulty of opponents, and how convincing the victories were can move a boxer faster or slower. Top contenders have a chance to challenge for the championship. The champ has to defend his belt on a regular basis. At least once a year. Sometimes there is a mandatory challenger, who clearly stands out from the others. The managers and promoters of the champ and challenger then have to make that fight happen within a given time or the champ forfeits his belt. (The mandatory challenger can be made to step aside for a unification title shot and can also be offered financial incentive to step aside if there's a bigger fight available for the champ). If there are a couple of contenders, they will usually have to fight each other in a an elimination bout to determine the mandatory challenger.
posted by IanMorr at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2012 [18 favorites]


Great explanation IanMorr. Now can someone tell us know-nothings how the judges get trained/vetted/picked?
posted by benito.strauss at 11:46 AM on June 11, 2012


Yet another nail pounded into the coffin of boxing, and it comes at a grim time, because people are hopeful of a bout with Floyd Mayweather more than ever before (despite the refusal of Mayweather to commit). After the Bradley decision, a fight with Mayweather--unless it ends in a knock-out or TKO--could conceivably end up in a similar twisted outcome.

Boxing seems to be getting it on all fronts. Confusion over heavyweight titles. Fucked up, biased decisions. New medical evidence of the health risks of small, or even minute concussions, and how they plague athletes for the rest of their lives. (The same evidence that has thrown the NFL and its players into a tizzy.)

Meanwhile, MMA is emerging with a vengeance. Gone are the wild, anarchistic days of the early UFC. MMA is a rule-bound, professionally minded sport that's on a seemingly limitless growth curve. It seems to be mostly free of the corruption that's plagued boxing since, well, forever, and steroid use isn't prominent among lighter weight classes. As a mix of diverse styles, with both standing and ground games, it's a far cry from the punch fest of boxing, and somewhat freer of the concussions of a sport in which the head is the primary target.

And MMA is host to young, aggressive, passionate, artistic fighters. Anderson Silva. Jon Bones Jones. It's drenched with charisma and excitement.

Marquess-of-Queensberry-rules boxing is the past. MMA is the future. Or will be, if boxing doesn't get its act in gear.
posted by Gordion Knott at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Guardian did a live blog round-by-round as well. Here's how they had it:
Round 7: Bradley trying to grapple in close early on in the 7th and tries to trade again, but loses out on power. Again. Pacquiao's defense has been great so far by the way. Around the one minute mark Bradley digs deep to survive another flurry, but he's shipping some heavier punches in the exchanges as the fight goes on. He's also being out punched by a 3 to 1 ratio as Pacquiao finds his range continuously. After the round it's very relaxed in Pacman's corner. Urgency in Bradley's... There needs to be.
Here's the Fox Sports description of Round 7:
Bradley comes out with some good shots but Manny just sort of shrugs them off. Bradley isn’t connecting with big shots and what he is connecting with isn’t doing much. Manny is luring him into a firefight and rattling his bones with big power shots. His foot is still on the throttle as he’s looking to set up a knockout combination. Bradley gets Manny against the ropes and they start winging punches but Manny gets the best of it, even with his back against the ropes. Manny pours it on starting in the last 50 seconds or so. He’s looking to end this and end it soon with how he’s throwing.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've always been a proponent of the "You can't dance with the champ, you have to put him down" approach to championship bouts, and Bradley didn't even come within one astronomical unit of that. Even setting aside ssues of possible corruption and incompetence, I hate seeing titles change hands on decisions, unless the champ turns in a completely uninspired performance (e.g. Rampage Jackson v. Forrest Griffin a few years ago in UFC.) Manny looked like vintage Manny. No way you rule this one in favor of Bradley if your eyes are connected to a functioning brain.

It can be brutal, but I think there's something pure and time-hallowed by boxing at its best, and I'd hate to see it disappear from the American landscape. I have no idea what it'll take to fix it, but I hope something can be done.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:05 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell: Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley - Round 7 (YouTube).
Thanks. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's pretty obvious. Bradley gets in a bunch of weak hits, mostly on Pacquiao's gloves. Pacquiao clearly gets the better of Bradley, landing several solid hits. At around the 1:45 mark (1:50 on the video timer), Pacquiao unleashes a fierce assault, forcing Bradley to crouch over almost double in defense. He lands several solid hits. Bradley then counter-attacks, but doesn't land much. Pacquiao dances around him, connecting several more times. The HBO analyst has Pacquiao landing three times the punches Bradley did in round 7.

The judges must have been watching some other fight.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Philippine press has a comprehensive list of unofficial media scores here. 48 sportswriters had it for Pacman, 3 for Bradley.

Interesting that the most pro-Bradley score (116-112) out of the more than 50 analysts polled was the man on Arum's payroll, Brian Kenny (who was recently let go from the studio job at ESPN's Friday Night Fights).
posted by BobbyVan at 12:36 PM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I watched the fight and very nearly turned it off before the decision, it was so clearly a victory for Pacquiao.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2012


Boxing should be scored at the end of each round, and the score should be shown in the arena so that everyone knows where each fighter stands throughout the match.

This would be trivially easy to do and eliminate surprise decisions like this one, which is why it will never happen.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:45 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boxing should be scored at the end of each round, and the score should be shown in the arena so that everyone knows where each fighter stands throughout the match.

The problem lies in keeping that information away from the fighters -- if you know for a fact how far up you are, the last two or three rounds could get pretty boring.
posted by Etrigan at 1:27 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boxing should be scored at the end of each round, and the score should be shown in the arena so that everyone knows where each fighter stands throughout the match.

This is called open scoring and they do this in a lot of commissions (it's preferred by the WBA I think). It's explicitly banned by US Boxing, although it was trialled recently in a a biggish fight in Texas (Chavez Jnr v Rubio). (Why was it in used in Texas if it's banned in the US? Mainly because Texas is a dreadful commission that makes things up as it goes along)

It's actually an idea that sounds much better in theory than it does in practice. If you ever saw, say, Mormeck v Bell (where Mormeck spent the last four rounds dancing around the ring) then it can lead to some pretty dull fights.
posted by Hartster at 1:32 PM on June 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd still prefer a dull fight to a corrupt one.
posted by WalkingAround at 1:45 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]



The problem lies in keeping that information away from the fighters -- if you know for a fact how far up you are, the last two or three rounds could get pretty boring.
posted by Etrigan at 1:27 PM on June 11 [+] [!]


What fighting I've done, you've already got a pretty good idea when you're winning. You don't need to look at the judge to find out how the match went.

Which makes me consider how Pacquiao must have felt after this one.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:01 PM on June 11, 2012


How would open scoring make it less corrupt? Because the judges (who have been paid off by powerful and vested interests) would be too scared or ashamed to reveal their scores during the fight? Not sure that's likely. (And you could argue it makes it more open to inaccuracy as judges in front of a rabid home crowd would be more likely to favour the home fighter).

For what it's worth, I believe the sport suffers from bad judging and incompetence, and I think there are a ton of sub-optimal things that I should be fixed, but I don't believe that Bob Arum would risk a major jail sentence over something where you have to squint to even believe the outcome benefits him.

It's more conceivable that the "mob"/gamblers could corrupt some judges, but again it seems pretty unlikely to me, as why risk it on a fight where there was a decent chance that Bradley was going to get visibly outclassed or knocked out and which was one of the three biggest fights of the year? Surely you'd be better off putting the fix on a lower profile fight.

(And as bad a decision as this was, it's not as bad as, say, the Paul Williams/Erislandy Lara fight, and while that caused a big kerfuffle in boxing circles, it had zero impact on the general public)

I suspect (hope) this is bad judges who felt that Pacquaio got a gift against Marquez in his last fight (which is somewhat debatable in itself) and got caught up in the hype beforehand that Pacquaio's calves were going to explode and the younger man was going to take him to task.
posted by Hartster at 2:02 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Boxing should be scored at the end of each round, and the score should be shown in the arena so that everyone knows where each fighter stands throughout the match.

Some federations actually do that. I know I watched a Klitschko fight with scores announced after the fourth and eighth rounds. Of course, X vs. Klitschko = not a surprising score at any point.
posted by wrok at 2:59 PM on June 11, 2012


I would be outraged, but I spent all that outrage on Marquez getting robbed. Oh, boxing...
posted by wrok at 3:00 PM on June 11, 2012


I'm a bit late to this one... but I live in the Philippines. There is no escaping Pacquiao here. As far as I can tell, he really is a national hero, and sponsers many products, so his face is all over giant billboards beside the jammed freeways, in magazines etc.

Everyone says that when Pacquiao fights, the crime rate in the Philippines drops to 0%. You have to book months ahead to get into the better venues to watch the fights, and everyone will be talking about it leading up to it, and for days afterwards.

In Manila, there are armed security guards everywhere, 24/7, guarding stalls, malls, coffee shops, ATMs etc. I went out during the fight to get a coffee. The security guards in my building were all huddled around a radio - I had to open the door myself! Walking along, there was no traffic. I didn't see a car on what are normally quite busy streets. Every buildings security team were gathered around radios or had personal ones, listening fervently to the broadcast of the fight. It really stuck me how important it is to them, and what an imposition it is to work when the fight is on.

I can't speak to his political views or his statements to the press, but one thing that I noticed when I came here, in the office, in my building, in the shops, on the street, on TV... Pacquiao is everywhere here.
posted by Admira at 5:46 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a fake Timothy Bradley Facebook page because of course there is. One of the first posts says, "After reviewing the tape over 10 times, and listening to what all my fans and haters had to say about the fight. I have made a decision. I shall return this belt to its true, rightful owner.I shall release this information to the press and media shortly.. Please stay safe guys." This post currently stands at 4,612 "likes."
posted by ob1quixote at 9:09 PM on June 13, 2012


So, the WBO agree - Pacquaio won.

ESPN Report here with 5 new judges scoring it: 118-110, 117-111, 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113 - which is fairly clear.
posted by Hobo at 2:42 AM on June 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


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