by Alden “The Kid” Chodash: The saddest thing about the Bradley-Pacquiao controversy is how mislead the public has been. Cries of fix, scandal, and incompetency are frequently heard amidst social media venues like Twitter and various boxing forums, but is it possible that such opinions are shaped by the media itself? Promotor Bob Arum, who ironically is slated by some to be the source of the controversy, has refused to proceed with a rematch without an investigation by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. But isn’t there some distinction between a promoter and a judge in terms of the fight’s significance to them?
Of course, and if Arum even bothered to score the fight at ringside, do you think he took the time to analyze the fight a second time on the film? Questionable. But I will admit, it is very easy to be swayed by the crowd and the broadcast if you bought the Pay-Per-View event, with commentators and expert scorers both in agreement that Pacquiao won nearly every round. I will not doubt that Harold Lederman is an expert judge, he is. He has sat ringside for far more fights than I’ve even seen. But is it possible that by sitting next to three commentators who have been in awe of Pacquiao’s brilliance for years Lederman’s scoring can be swayed. Judges Duane Ford, CJ Ross, and Jerry Roth certainly didn’t have people calling the fight right by their sides. Not to call suspicion upon Lederman’s credibility, he’s an honest man. But the openly stated views of his HBO partners clearly can serve as confounding variables to his scorecard. First things first, it wasn’t an 11-1 fight in rounds.
Also, Compubox statistics aren’t as accurate as many blindly assume they are. Take round 4 for example. Compubox had Pacquiao outscoring Bradley 35-15. I know computer scoring in the amateurs have been suspect in recent years, but have you ever heard of 35 clean punches landed in a single round of an amateur fight? No. Compubox is not only far more lenient than amateur judges in recording punches landed, but they are even more lenient than professional judges in analyzing clean punches. Not every punch tracked by Compubox is a clean punch because remember, not every Compubox scorer may be in the perfect position to see if it landed or not. And same goes with judges, each judge may not be in the perfect position to see if every shot made contact.
But that’s exactly why professional judges do not score fights based on the amount of punches landed. Not even close. Their criteria is much more holistic than that, and in a close fight like Bradley-Pacquiao (yeah, I said it was close) the brute quantity of punches landed is simply superfluous to a judge. They’re not given punch counters, which iswhat Compubox employees rely upon. And once again, they aren’t judges, just counters. To justify a Pacquiao win let alone a dominant one on the basis of punches landed is absurd for this reason. If Pacquiao won, he won more rounds, each scored independently of the fight as a whole. Not because his punches generally were more damaging, not because he came forward all night, but because he won more rounds than Bradley. Generalities about the fight as a whole don’t correlate with professional boxing scoring.
I find the most credible piece of evidence against a fix to be the fact that Duane Ford, an experienced judge who scored the fight for Bradley, came forward and defended his judgement to the media, especially with his appearance on HBO’s “The Fight Game”. Think about how many times officials refuse to speak to the press about their controversial decisions. Jon Schorle eshewing HBO after disqualifying Carlos Molina in his bout against James Kirkland, Pat Russell following the later ruled no-contest in the first Hopkins-Dawson affair, as well as Joe Cooper after the Peterson-Khan bout. The fact that Ford has taken the time to defend his opinion to the media is not only courageous, but it’s very noble as well. It’s the kind of action that leaves cynics questioning whether he’d be the type of guy who would be in on the so-called “fix” anyway. It’s up to the public to take the time to analyze the fight, round by round, alone, away from any source of influence. Boxing’s reputation does not need to be tarnished because of misleading information from the media. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
Arguably boxing’s #1 pound-for-pound expert, Alden Chodash has covered the sport since 2005. A short time later he became the youngest ever member of the Boxing Writers Association Of America.