Boxing has yet again experienced a controversial decision with Timothy Bradley being gifted a decision over Manny Pacquiao. Much has been said about the decision. First and foremost, it was a poor decision, but we have to accept that boxing is one of the most opinionated sports out there and when it goes to the judges scorecards, we are relying on their opinion.
Conspiracy theories are rife. Whenever we see a bad decision, there will always be conspiracy theorists. Are we right to think so? Perhaps. Perhaps not. However, in this writers opinion a fix here just does not make sense to me. Timothy Bradley is not a draw in this sport. He will never have the fan base or drawing power of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquaio. It makes no sense to have this fight fixed in favour of Bradley.
Sure, there is an argument against that. Manny is nearing the end of his career. Maybe Bob Arum wants a new ‘cash-cow’ and sees Bradley as that man. People will say Bob Arum is conning the fans by having this fight again in November. Personally, I don’t buy that. Manny would have been fighting in November again regardless of the outcome of this fight, and we would have bought it.
In short, it was poor judging. It is nothing new either. But it has lead me to form a theory. A theory which is perhaps only specifically suited to this fight: The HBO 24/7 series.
How has the 24/7 series played a part in this fight?
Well, it was the first time Bradley had been under the spot-light. The first time he had the chance to tell his story to the watching world. And, perhaps, the watching judges.
Bradley handled himself incredibly well in the series. He came across as a very likeable character. His story was a somewhat inspiring one. There was more than a few people rooting for Bradley to win in this fight because of his story. We all love an underdog story so naturally Bradley had the backing of a majority of fans. And, again, maybe the judges.
See what I’m getting at?
This isn’t a knock on 24/7. It is just an alternative thought process as to why the judges scorecards favoured Bradley.
For an example, we all have a fighter who we love. Whether we love that fighter for his talent, because he is a guy from the same town as you, or simply because you just straight up think the fighter is a nice guy and want him to win. Because of those points mentioned, one may naturally favour that fighter in close rounds.
Is it possible the judges have done so with this fight? Perhaps judges C.J Ross and Duane Ford were inspired by Bradley’s story and ultimately developed a strong likening for him. This, in turn, affected their judgement in the close rounds of the fight.
This is not a defence of the judges. Far from it. A judge must be impartial and not develop a favourite in a fight solely based on that fighters story.
Again, this is just an alternative thought as opposed to crying conspiracy.
Bad judging happens in sport. It’s not nice and it’s one of the big downsides to the sport of boxing. Will it improve? In this writers opinion, no. Boxing is the most opinionated sport there is. That alone means we will continue to have disagreements on how a fight is scored.