By Derek Gionta: Years of experience in any field typically equates to consistent success. In boxing, judges have the role of scoring fights with the utmost integrity and objectivity. As far as having consistent success, that is yet to be told. On many occasions fans witness competitive fights where the rightful man wins the decision. However, it has become more frequent as the years pass that judges see a fight differently than fans, media, and professionals within the sport. This such instance leads us to what the Secondsout writers voted as the worst decision of 2012: Timothy Bradley’s split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao.
Leading up to the fight, Manny Pacquiao found himself at the top of the sport’s pound for pound rankings and a majority of the fans’ must-see list. Timothy Bradley, an undefeated former champion at a lower weight class, found himself with an opportunity to take on one of Boxing’s best with a chance to catapult his rise among the pound for pound rankings. A win would most likely increase his fan base, so one would assume.
The MGM’s Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada would be the site, while the HBO camera’s shined bright on what would eventually conclude as a dark moment in the sport.
In what many of the sport’s followers felt would be a competitive fight, while quite a few picked Bradley to win, the dynamic of the fight wasn’t as such.
After twelve rounds of boxing, what looked like a sure decision victory for Pacquiao, turned into a knockout blow to the chin of fight fans around the world. Timothy Bradley was awarded a split decision after scores of 115-113 x 2 for Bradley (scored by Duane Ford and CJ Ross) and 115-113 for Pacquiao (scored by Jerry Roth) were read to the fans that stuck around. All but a few media members at ringside scored the fight for Pacquiao, further triggering outrage among the boxing world.
You’ve heard the scoring criteria for judging a fight many times. Clean punching, effective aggression, ring generalship, and defense form the square that determine a fights’ victor. Many casual fans ignore that and look at the busier fighter as the winner and play into the crowd reactions when scoring rounds.
Judges do not have it easy and at times make the wrong choice. They’re human too.
In this case, they were wrong. Punch stats do not always tell the tale, but body language and energy coupled with punch stats did write the script in this case.
Pacquiao out worked and out landed Bradley consistently and by a wide margin over the course of twelve rounds. Bradley fought valiantly and won his fair share of rounds, no question. If a fighter lands less punches than their opponent, they better make them count. Pacquiao landed 253 total punches (190 power punches) while Bradley landed 159 total punches (108 power punches). Pacquiao showed little to no signs of physical deterioration over the course of the fight, while Bradley looked like a defeated fighter. Give credit to Bradley for fighting a portion of the night with an injury, but give more credit to Pacquiao for winning the fight.
The looks on the faces of the Bradley camp said it all when Michael Buffer announced the decision.
What was even more disgraceful were the comments made by Duane Ford, one of the two judges that scored the fight for Bradley. "This isn’t American Idol," "I thought Bradley gave Pacquiao a boxing lesson," were among two of the idiotic quotes used by the longtime Nevada judge when referring to his decision to give Bradley the fight.
Promoter Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, called for an investigation and age restrictions on judges.
Neither occurred and you better believe next year’s Worst Decision article will display a similar storyline and proposed corrective action to resolve such issues.
Such is boxing. We will always experience great fights, not so great fights, good decisions, and bad ones. However, this bad decision sticks out among most as the worst of 2012.
January 2, 2013