For much of my life, I’ve always loved watching boxing — the sweet science, as it is sometimes called. Saturday night may have ruined boxing for me.
Manny Pacquiao, one of the best fighters of his generation, was robbed of his welterweight belt in a fight against Timothy Bradley. To most who watched the fight, there was no question that Pacquiao won; he was faster, more dominant, and landed nearly 100 punches more than Bradley.
However, when the results were announced, it was Bradley who was celebrating. The fans booed, the announcers seemed dumbstruck, and Pacquiao was as classy as ever, saying that apparently his best wasn’t good enough.
On Sunday, I came across a list that said, of 50 of the top boxing analysts in America who scored the fight, 48 of them thought that Pacquiao won. I thought it was so clear that Pacquiao had won, for half a second I wondered if the World Boxing Association had been taken over by Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Entertainment.
On the list, most scored hugely in Pacquiao’s favor, with multiple analysts scoring the fight 119-109. If you don’t know much about boxing and how it’s scored, just trust me when I say that’s a huge score. Winning by 10 points in a boxing match would be a dominant performance.
In the fight, Pacquiao landed 34 percent of his punches. Bradley only connected on 19 percent of his. There were large portions of the fight where Bradley looked sluggish and didn’t have his hands up to protect himself. Yet the judges felt Bradley was the winner.
I’ve always enjoyed watching boxing. I can remember my dad coming home and waking me up to tell me how Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear. I remember the feeling of excitement I felt the first time I was allowed to stay up late and watch a big boxing match.
Most of the memories I have of watching boxing are happy and fun, but after Saturday’s fight, they’ve been tainted.
For years, I’ve heard how boxing is a corrupt business, and often money changes hands behind the scenes. Since the results were announced in Saturday’s fight, I’ve heard a lot of conspiracy theorists who say the fight was fixed, or that judges were paid off.
I don’t know whether or not those claims have any real validity, and I don’t claim to be a boxing analyst, just a fan for many years. What I do know, though, is it was clear to me and millions of others on Saturday that the wrong man won the fight.
What is even sadder than the fact that Pacquiao lost his title belt is the fact that this was his first loss in eight years. It will probably lessen the chances of seeing a Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight in the future, and has seriously tainted the sport of boxing for me.
It’s expensive to watch the fights, with Pay Per View bills upwards of $60 and, to me, it’s not worth that much money to watch something that leaves you feeling confused, frustrated, and wondering if it was fixed or not. I’d rather spend that money elsewhere.