CONTEMPT: On Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao


They should hold the rematch in Area 51, roughly 140 miles away from Sin City, where Manny Pacquiao dropped a peculiar split decision to Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand last night via scores of 115-113, 113-115, and 115-113.

Not only was the decision as smelly as Newark Bay, but it allows conspiracy theorists all over cyberspace to perpetuate their crackpot theories. According to the tinfoil hat crew, Bob Arum rigged Pacquiao-Marquez III because Pacquiao is his meal ticket, and, seven months later, he rigged Bradley-Pacquiao, too, because…because…oh, hell, does pure evil need a reason? In between those two stings, he had time to manipulate the Brandon Rios-Richard Abril fight because Rios is such an important commodity that hardly anyone showed up to see “Bam Bam” fight the Cuban clutchmaster at the Mandalay Bay.

For the “Arum is Aleister Crowley” contingent, the Top Rank honcho simply did not work up enough ire at rebel judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford. Never mind the fact that Arum, now 81 years old, is in his dotage, and that he has seen just about everything over the course of 46 years in boxing. Just how much oomph is Arum supposed to have at this stage? As for warmly congratulating Bradley after the fight, that is only some sort of shock or revelation to those who hold the dim view of Arum as some inhuman flesh peddler.

As for the fight itself, Pacquiao, who slips to 54-4-2(38), seemed to have a relatively easy time of it early and then decided to cruise late. Although boxing pawnbrokers routinely reward fighters who coast in the ring, professional judges, theoretically, at least, want to see a little effort. Pacquiao, who turned it up against Juan Manuel Marquez over the last third of the fight last year, felt no great urgency to do the same against Bradley. After a nondescript first round, Pacquiao, 33, began zeroing in with his straight left, driving Bradley back repeatedly. Pacquiao was the aggressor throughout the first half of the fight and seemed to land the harder, cleaner shots. In the seventh, Pacquaio whacked Bradley, 28, around the ring with glee, only to see Bradley the get the nod from all three judges.

Showing the kind of grit that allowed him to rise from a spectacular first-round knockdown against Kendall Holt in 2009, Bradley, on gimpy feet, fought back hard and landed his share of cuffing hooks late in the fight. In addition, when Pacquiao eased off, Bradley took advantage of the lull in action to flurry, often ineffectively, but the judges, apparently, felt otherwise. It almost seemed as if Bradley earned points just for not being steamrolled.

Whatever the clincher was for Bradley, now 29-0 (12), it was not readily apparent, but, like those paranormal researchers on television who insist a grainy blotch in an out-of-focus still is some sort of demonic apparition, a case can be made for almost anything in boxing. You would have to search long and hard to tab Bradley the winner last night, but if you believe in ghosts, well, here are two pointy ears and what appears to be a sliver of fang or an ectoplasmic cock.

Scoring a fight is subjective, of course, but not nearly as subjective as some would like you to believe in order to cultivate an air of arcane knowledge far beyond the reach of mere mortals. The Roger Bacons of boxing, beakers and pots boiling over with alchemical lava, are always going to guard their esoteric secrets with illogical fervor. For the rest of us, for whom a boxing match is not an occasion for existential affirmation, it is cold comfort to know that we have no idea what we are talking about.

As has been noted here repeatedly, consumers are an afterthought in contemporary boxing. There was a time when the only way for anyone to make money in the fight racket was for an event to appeal to the paying customer. Networks, promoters, and fighters no longer have to worry about that thanks to the development of technologically-driven ancillary revenue over the last 25 years—which has managed the extraordinary feat of producing more money with fewer patrons—and the fact that television suits routinely consult Magic 8-balls to make decisions. More and more, however, we are seeing the pseudo-regulatory apparatus of boxing itself–judges, referees, commission heads—sticking it to the fans. Keith Kizer, for example, does not appear to give a damn about consumers, bettors, or fighters.

Whatever happened in Las Vegas last night seemed, at the very least, curious. Answers are rare in boxing, but they almost always come down to two choices: incompetence or corruption. But maybe we ought to add a third option to that shortlist. How about contempt? Genuine and gratuitous—the kind of contempt you can find in every moldy corner of boxing. Contempt, sure, that ought to do it.


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Tags: Manny Pacquiao TIM BRADLEY Timothy Bradley

  • HitDog

    A mad billionaire should really be working right now to develop an awesome International Waters Boxing Commission. Meanwhile, Las Vegas should be developing a “Guy Who Throws More Punches Wins This Fight No Matter What” over/under, except that with Nevada fights, no one could ever, ever bet the under. What a crock of shit.

  • JohnPaulFutbol

    “oh yeah, an African swallow maybe, but not a European swallow,  that’s my point.”
    I didn’t see this fight, yet. But, with the exception of literally a few guys it seems everyone thought this was a clear victory for Pacquiao. So I assume it was. The Roger Bacon reference is spot on…’s always seemed that discrediting Pacquiao is some way of showing your legitimacy as a boxing expert. Some gnostic bullshit. But I can assure you otherwise. Per your recommendation I had a seance last night and found out that John Dee is a pretty big Pacquiao fan. I’ve never understood the Pacquiao backlash and have no clue what Marquez has to do with the fight last night. But people that bleat on and on about “robberies” in what were essentially very close fights and are now acting as if what happened last night is the greatest thing since Armistice Day are pathetic. Contempt says it all……back to my hiatus. 

  • dennis wise

    Great point.  HBO has tossed out monopoly money for years regardless of worthiness and no one cares anymore about getting right.  I do love being lectured about how to score a fight, though. As a life long fan, that is a lot of fun and makes nights like Saturday all the more enjoyable. 
    Carlos, what did you think about the Pacquiao’s performance? He’s slowed down a bit, which we knew, but I thought he was surprisingly tired towards the last several rounds. 

  • jet79

    Hi CA,
    Wrong guy got the nod last night, but it wasn’t one of the worst decisions I’ve seen. I can’t figure out why Pacquiao didn’t keep the pressure on, since I couldn’t see Bradley taking too many more left hands and staying upright. Puzzling, but I think Bradley played a roll in Pacquiao’s willingness to ease off.
    Regardless, I can’t get up in arms about this shit anymore. Have a rematch and settle it, or don’t, fuck, whatever. It’s just a boxing match – I’m gonna try not to imbue it with excessive significance. The conspiracy talk is ridiculous because, as you pointed out, it doesn’t make any sense.
    How about that Randall Bailey! Lands 18 total punches and puts the Mike Jones agenda in the bin. Happy for Bailey, who seems to cherish the title he won…even if nobody else does. Both guys were classy afterward too. So I’ll keep coming back for moments like that, where fists alone render verdicts and the sport preserves some nobility.

  • Michael Nelson

    Hey Carlos,
    Pacquiao wasn’t exactly a whirlwind in there, often cruising through two minutes of a round before turning it on, but it was enough to win eight of them, I thought.  Bradley’s usually pretty bouncy, so I think the foot thing did hinder his movement.  Nevertheless, I was shocked at the decision with everyone else.  Pacquiao’s stuff was moving Bradley around the ring, so I assumed he’d bag most of every close round.
    I guess outraged folks will either scoff or yawn at a rematch.  I tend to think we’ll get better performances from both guys.  Sign me up.

  • JDL

    The look of utter disbelief on the face of my 78 year old father, who is a life long boxing fan, after the decision was read, says it all for me…Bradley barely won a round and he damn sure didn’t do enough to take the title from the champion. I was left speechless. That’s saying something with all the shit decisions I’ve seen watching boxing since the late 70s…Regardless of what anyone thinks of Pacquiao…he didn’t deserve this.

  • thenonpareil

     @HitDog Did I ever tell you that I am, in fact, a mad billionaire?  

  • thenonpareil

     @Colonel_Mustard Hi, 
    Thanks.  You might not want to Google ectoplasmic cock.  The difference between DLH-Trinidad and this fight is that DLH shamelessly ran for the last three rounds and made no attempt at all to engage.  It was pathetic, actually.  Here, Pacquiao didn’t set the world on fire late, but he was exchanging with Bradley and making a good faith effort to win, if not an overwhelming one. 
    The judges seemed to be impressed by the fact that Bradley was doing better than some thought, I guess.  Occasionally, he stepped in when Pacquiao was at his laziest, and that was a smart move on his part, I guess.  In the end, not much of this adds up.  

  • thenonpareil

     @JohnPaulFutbol Hi JPF, 
    thanks for poking your head out of the rabbit hole, at least for a moment.  This fight was pretty strange all around.  Not very exciting, but Pacquiao did most of the work.  It’s a shame to see him “lose” this way, really.  This was one of his least taxing fights.  Even Clottey left him bloody and bruised.  Except for a few slapping shots in the last few rounds, Bradley did little of significance: Pacquiao was never really staggered, rarely backed up, he wasn’t dropped, cut, or penalized a point.  Nothing really happened to him, but that nothing was enough to cost him the decision.
    If you really want to laugh, then all you have to do is think about the fact that Bradley reportedly fought from the second round on with a fractured left foot (unlikely) and from the fourth round on with a seriously twisted ankle.  And yet, he outboxed Manny Pacquiao!!!!
    All the Pacquiao backlash is pretty silly, what with cockfighting, gay marriage, gambling, etc.  What matters is how he comports himself in the ring and on boxing platforms, and he’s never failed there.  After the decision was announced, he walked over to Bradley’s father and said, “Your son will be a fine champion.”  Then he said he respected the judges and that he did the best he could.  I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ll miss him when he’s gone, for sure.  

  • thenonpareil

     @dennis wise Hi Dennis, 
    Right, some of the fellers who think Bradley won sat around telling everyone about the finer points of boxing.  Good grief. What are you going to do? 
    Honestly, to me, Pacquiao is ready to go and I said that in the comments section to Michael Nelson’s preview of the fight.  The machine–and it was a machine–of 2008/2009 no longer exists.  The foot movement, power, combinations, and speed don’t compare to what he was against Cotto, say.  And his work rate has dropped significantly over the last few fights. It’s only natural, given age and the cruel, deleterious aspects of his profession, but it would really be sad to see something like this happen to him again.  Pacquiao looked tired at the end, and his mind has not been on fighting, it seems, for a while, but those are not reasons to give the fight to his opponent!      

  • thenonpareil

     @jet79 Hi JT, 
    that’s an interesting point, about Bradley playing a role in Pacquiao easing up.  Some would say he fought well enough and hard enough to deflate Pacquiao, but at the time, I remembered thinking–and saying to friends–”He’s got this in the bag and is on cruise control now.”  Who knows?  Very strange stuff, from beginning to end.  
    Thank God for Bailey, really.  I’ve been pooping on Mike Jones for two years now–another make-believe star pumped up by “journos” and “auxiliary” types.  I’m sure he’s a nice guy, and that he works hard, and that he has some attributes I’m probably blind to, but the man doesn’t even know which way to point his feet or how to move in even the most fundamental way.  Bailey didn’t do much throughout the boring fight, but he hits as hard as anybody in the last 10 years and Jones gave him the openings with his really third-rate moves.  

  • thenonpareil

     @Michael Nelson Hi MN, 
    Pacquiao did not look like he was in the fight mentally for long stretches of time, but, like you said, he was pushing Bradley back with his shots.  I do believe Bradley was hobbled out of his game plan, which seemed to be to get off first and pivot to the left away from the Pacquiao money punch.  He couldn’t do that after a bit, so he alternated between retreating and flurrying.  
    Personally, I don’t care if they fight again.  It wasn’t a great match and it was pretty much a walk in the park for Pacquiao.  

  • thenonpareil

     @sisiw24 Hi sisiw24, 
    I’m with you…every…step…of…the…way…..

  • thenonpareil

     @JDL Hi JDL, 
    your father doesn’t need a lesson on the finer points of boxing from experts!  He knows when a man beats another clearly, so of course he was surprised.  It was just crazy, really, and who knows what to make of it?  

  • dennis wise

     @thenonpareil  I agree completely.  I know that its a matter of age, his style and the ring wars, as well has Pacquiao’s tendency to overtrain, but was there a tipping point? I think each welterweight fight took something out of him, but it seemed to me he slowed down after the Margarito fight.  I think because of the savage beating he put on Margarito people forget Manny took a lot of punishment to the body from a much much larger man.

  • thenonpareil

     @dennis wise Hi Dennis, 
    I would agree with the successive fights at welterweight theory. Pacquiao is an artificial welterweight who has to build up via insane calorie consumption to 145-147 pounds.  The Margarito fight left him curled up in a hotel room for a couple of days, if I recall correctly; Cotto nearly tore his ear off, and for a guy who was so stingy with punches, Clottey also left him a mess.  And no one faced the run of monsters he faced from 2002-2008: Barrera 2x, Marquez 2x, Ledwaba, Morales 3x, Agapito Sanchez, Solis, etc. And even Bradley was some supposed P4P star!   I may be wrong here, but I believe he entered the ring as an underdog 4 times over that stretch.  Chad Dawson and Andre Berto have yet to enter the ring as an underdog in all of their fights combined.  He’s had a hard road, despite recent style matchups made in his favor.  It took him 12 or 13 years to get favorable treatment, something that is given to frauds and “prospects” almost as a birthright.