Sour grapes and re-scoring Bradley-Pacquiao

boxingBy Dave Cacciatore: The clamor created by people on HBO has nearly launched Senator Harry Reid into an investigation into official scoring in the sweet science. Charges of fight fixing, gamblers betting late money on the underdog, and promotional allegiances and other half verified rumors have swirled the airwaves and internet. Many in the media seem to be quick to jump on and over-analyze any of these rumors with birther like zeal. However, who in the media is turning the question around and asking questions about the accuser crying loudest; HBO?

For all of the talk of the robbery, no one in the boxing community would seriously argue that was not the best Manny Pacquiao we ever saw. Manny looked slow at times. His conditioning was mediocre at best for a championship fight of this caliber. He never got off in combination. He never really hurt Bradley in the fight. And many rounds he was fighting only one out of every three minutes. These points are not in dispute and these points do not suggest that Pacquiao was deserving of a sweeping tide in the area of benefit of the doubt..

To be certain Bradley also did not have a convincing night. He also never put Pacquiao in trouble and had difficulty getting off his punches. But he was active and he did seem to do his best work late in the fight. The fight was not definitively his and the official scores reflected that point.

Jim Lampley ended up looking like a chump when the official scores were read for the fight. Lampley spent the better part of the night cheerleading for the longtime HBO fighter Pacquiao while the contest was unfolding and giving patronizing praise to Bradley. His scoring of the fight seemed as scripted as his comments; is it any wonder that he is now screaming the loudest about the depravity of the scoring?

Now not just Lampley but the rest of the parade of the chumped sings the same sad song about how they re-watched the fight and their scores were basically the same. What a wonder! Didn't we all fully expect to hear Max Kellerman say 'I re-watched the fight and boy was I wrong on how I scored it?' Or Dan Rafael to say 'I thought it was a blow-out for Pacquiao when I first watched the fight but now I see that it was a close fight?'

Of course they are not going to be that candid even if it were the truth. This is not to dismiss the exercise of re-scoring a fight but to point out the obvious about when the invested critic does it. The reason those guys did it was to bolster the argument that they already publicly made. So that the next time they are in front of a microphone they can say I re-scored the fight carefully with the sound off and I stand by my original conclusion.

Let it be clear, I also agreed with Jerry Roth that Manny Pacquiao won the fight. I thought he did enough to win a slim majority of the rounds. However, it was a close fight. There is an absence of evidence to score the fight as a wipe out either way and that is what the official scores reflected. Pacquiao and the pundits that supported him during and after the fight made a major miscalculation in believing that judges were going to sweep him round after round based on some sporadic clean punching The history of boxing should have told them both that they should have known better. Rather than wasting time re-scoring this fight and they should have studied the history of boxing before the fight.

Scoring a close boxing match is one of the most difficult tasks in all of sports. It is nebulous, open to interpretation, and it's predictability is chaotic. It is not as simple as Olympic boxing or it's bastard cousin CompuBox. Fights are not won by counting the number of connects which is a subjective enterprise in itself. Fights are won by making it obvious to the untrained eye who the winner is and that surely did not happen when Pacquiao stepped in the ring with Timothy Bradley.

Article posted on 18.06.2012

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