Pacquiao vs. Bradley: Was the Fight Fixed?

Jeff KayerCorrespondent IJune 10, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09:  (R-L) Manny Pacquiao lands a right to the head of Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Well, if you're a boxing purist, I guess the good news is that the people are talking about your sport.

The problem is that the only reason they are talking is due to one of the worst judges' decisions the sport has seen in a very long time on the biggest of stages.

Sure, we have seen bad decisions before.  But to see two judges give Timothy Bradley, Jr., a four-to-one underdog against Manny Pacquiao, a 115-113 was beyond stunning.

Virtually every person in the packed MGM Grand in Las Vegas felt differently about the decision.  Bad decisions happen, yes.  But when many people believed "Pac-Man" had won 10 or 11 of 12 rounds only to see him lose, people have to ask: What is going on here?

There are those who will defend the judges.  After all, human error is something that happens in almost every sport.  People will also criticize Pacquiao for allowing it to get to the judges.  Whether you're in a boxing ring or in a mixed martial arts octagon, you never want a match to go to the scorecards for these very reasons.

Despite these criticisms, though, there is no excuse for last night's result.  Manny Pacquiao won the fight.  Even Bradley has had a hard time explaining why he felt he won.

When you get a result like this, it sadly makes you wonder if everyone—the fans, the media and perhaps even the boxers themselves—are being played here.  These questions and doubts would not emanate in every sport when a bad decision comes in.

But when you're a sport as controversial as boxing, this is what happens.  The question is simple: Was this fight fixed?

He may look upset, but the decision means he will take more of your money in November.
He may look upset, but the decision means he will take more of your money in November.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

You would like to believe it wasn't, and that this came down to horrid judges who should simply be fired. 

But for those who may not realize, both fighters share the same promoter, Bob Arum.  Even before both fighters entered the ring last night, there were re-match clauses in place for both men to fight a second time in 2012.

Now you get this horrible decision in which Arum himself said, "I'm going to make a lot of money on the rematch, but this (decision) was outrageous." (h/t BBC)

Thanks to this decision, Bob Arum is waking up today a very happy man.  Do not be fooled.  This decision was the best thing that could have happened to Bob Arum.

Timothy Bradley, Jr. just became a new commodity to the boxing world, something the sport desperately needs with so many known fighters retiring this week.

The poor decision protects Pacquiao as well.  Yes, his seven-year winning streak is at an end, but no one is considering him a loser right now.  The perception is that he got screwed. 

With Floyd Mayweather, Jr. sitting in a jail cell and the prospect of a megafight between he and Pacquiao fading by the day, Arum is desperate to find new fights and new rivalries.  Who better to take that place than one of his own fighters?

The mere fact that there are those in the boxing world as well as the media considering this scenario is a testament to just how far the sport of boxing has fallen and why it is yet another nail in boxing's coffin.

You know what sport doesn't allow for this type of chatter about fixing fights and corrupt promoters?  The UFC.  They don't allow promoters to come into their organization and line up fights, often with fighters who are not deserving of an opportunity.

It is done in-house, with Dana White providing the most recognizable face in the UFC's promotion business.  If fans clamor for a fight, more times than not, the UFC provides them that match-up.  If a fighter gets a bad decision, the UFC won't penalize him for that and will give that guy another big fight.

So in five months, people can get geared up for Pacquiao/Bradley II, as Bob Arum and other people in his organization can laugh their way to the bank as over one million people will spend $65 to see this rematch.

Yes, Manny Pacquiao had a victory stolen from him, but the people who truly got robbed with last night's embarrassment were the fans.