A desert storm arises, yet the streets still bleed

By Phenyo Molefe: In midst of the seas of controversy which have surfaced in the aftermath of Saturday’s main event in Vegas, I was prompted to review a tape of the action to ensure that my judgement of this fight was not impaired by prior expectation. A seemingly unlikely upset has polarised factions within the boxing world, with a greater leaning towards an unfair decision granted in Timothy Bradley favour.

However remote, following Pacquiao’s fight against Marquez; Bradley was given an outsider chance of pulling off an unlikely upset but favour definitely was firmly placed in Pacquiao’s corner. He is the far more seasoned warrior, amassing awards in multiple weight classes, finding his name leading pound for pound rankings. His cheer and demeanour often mask his unforgiving killer-instinct and the lithium charged sticks he holds in each of his hands.

Timothy Bradley walked into the fight beaming with confidence seemingly unmoved by achievements surrounding Manny Pacquiao or the fans chanting his name. He begun the fight pawing away successfully with the jab and then bursting in with unrestrained flurries; refusing to give up ground. Although he initially appeared resilient to Pacquiao’s fire his own punches had little effect on Manny. However in course, Pacquiao’s straight left begun to catch Bradley’s attention and giving him sufficient reason to pause whenever it came in to find home. Tim’s onslaught, suffered its first headwind when he got rocked in the later stages of round four, stunned by one of the punches unleashed in Manny’s barrage; which left him anxiously weaving to avoid the tirade of punches which soon followed. One would be forgiven for thinking the end was near; as Bradley was left in unsteady territory on more than once occasion.

It was hence forth that Manny took firm control of the fight; beginning the next round crashing his lithium sticks together as if alerting Bradley to the looming fireballs to be freely served. Bradley ‘s earlier confidence seemed to have been punctured, the focus shattered by the bombs he was forced to swallow and at times he was left looking like a beaten man looking for a way around the quagmire which faced him.

Bradley begun showing signs of recovering some form, in the seventh, eighth and ninth round. Although still brilliant, Manny’s efforts had begun to slow, allowing Bradley to regain momentum with mildly fruitful skirmishes, which still did not dent Pacquiao in meaningful ways. I scored 9 rounds for Pacquiao and three rounds for Bradley.

Both fighters did a tremendous job and I admire their efforts in combat. Bradley, fought bravely even through his injury managed to regain himself fighting back under the pressure of Manny‘s merciless onslaught. Manny has without doubt been endowed with special abilities, his athletic prowess and veracious power has led many souls to surrender. It was expected that Pacquiao would win this fight with notable command and the possibility of knocking Bradley out would present itself.

In my books and in light of prior expectations, Timothy Bradley exceeded what many had projected would unfold and Manny although the better fighter met or in some aspects marginally fell short of the high expectations we had placed on his performance. Although he showed a marked improvement relative to his last fight, this was by no stretch of the imagination a spectacular Pacquiao fight, charged with an electrifying result. Despite his acclaimed knock-out power Manny could not connect t in a manner which would fully exploit Bradley when he was in his most vulnerable moments in the fight. And therein may lie some of the disappointment but not even this form of assessment is enough to penalise Pacquiao. Despite being blatantly disenfranchised, Manny held poise, exuding light into conduct I have rarely seen, I salute his character.

Judges are human, like any of us they too are vulnerable to mistakes and in execution of their duties do not have the benefits of the rewind and pause buttons; make no mistake it is a demanding role. Irrespective of the subjective element inherent in judging, I cannot fathom how anyone could score the fight for Bradley. Manny was the far more dominant fighter, effective in his arsenal and has he brought forth elements of disarray in Timothy Bradley’s ambition that evening. Duane Ford’s comments are a misguided attempt to absolve responsibility in a role that he and his colleagues should have far better executed than that which they yielded.

I have sought to find reasons to understand why Bradley was deemed to have won this fight and have surfaced empty handed. Despite the rumours running their rounds, I have attempted to refrain from entertaining the notion that unfavourable external forces are to blame for this appalling decision. Despite Top Rank initiating an investigation, these rumours will not abate in the near-term as boxing and its fans are tired at some of the controversy which has marred our beautiful sport and the working of some questionable characters in the making of it all.

Those concerned may be fortunate to escape notable consequences on this occasion but their names are remembered for they have done Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley and boxing fans a disservice. Calls for much needed reform to be established in our sport are not unfound and as the street bleed, it is my hope that these measures will be explored so that others are spared further injustice.

Article posted on 13.06.2012

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