Pacquiao-Bradley Scorecards, The Morning After

By Eric Raskin

There have been bad decisions. There have been bogus decisions. But there has never been one quite this confounding.

Timothy Bradley - Photo Credit: Will HartWhen Manny Pacquiao got the controversial nod over Juan Manuel Marquez last November, many of us at ringside and watching on television were furious, but at least we could understand it rationally. Pacquiao was the money guy; we accept, even expect, going in that the money guy might get the benefit of the doubt. What makes Saturday night’s decision in favor of Timothy Bradley so perplexing is that Pacquiao still is the money guy. Pac-Man appeared to dominate the fight, and yet he got robbed. The scoring defied all logic, both in terms of what we witnessed in the ring and what we’ve come to expect from boxing’s politics.

Before we can point fingers and pursue conspiracy theories, however, the first step is to re-examine the fight. I re-watched Pacquiao-Bradley round by round on Sunday morning, to determine for myself whether the 115-113 scorecards in Bradley’s favor from C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, or even the 115-113 card for Pacquiao from Jerry Roth, were somehow justifiable. Here’s what I came up with:

 

Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Round 1

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: Roth and Ross score for Pacquiao, Ford scores for Bradley

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Yes. Pacquiao stole the round with three good left hands in the final 15 seconds, but Bradley had built a slight lead prior to that and a 10-9 round for the challenger was justifiable.

Round 2

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: Roth and Ross score for Bradley, Ford scores for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Yes, but it’s a stretch. You’d have to score it based purely on activity, which is a weak way to judge boxing. According to CompuBox, Bradley out-threw Pacquiao 72-37, but Pacquiao out-landed him and did all of the effective punching, landing two noteworthy straight lefts.

Round 3

 My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: All three score for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? No. It wasn’t a blowout in Pacquiao’s favor, but he got slightly the better of the action from start to finish and won the exchange that capped the round.

Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Round 4

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: All three score for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? No way. This was the round in which Pacquiao landed a sizzling left hand to the jaw and Bradley staggered back and twisted his ankle. Pacquiao dominated this one, and the judges recognized it.

Round 5

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: Ross and Ford score for Bradley, Roth scores for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Frankly, no, even though two judges did. The round was about even until the final 35 seconds, then Pac-Man landed a clean left hand and Bradley held on. Pacquiao controlled the exchange that concluded the round, with Bradley looking tired and losing his technique.

Round 6

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: All three score for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Not quite. The round was very close through the first two minutes and 45 seconds, but then Pacquiao connected with a pinpoint left uppercut and a straight left that clinched the round for him.

Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao - Photo Credit: Will HartRound 7

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: All three score for Bradley

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? No. If there’s a “smoking gun” round in this fight, this is it. Pacquiao got the better of a nice exchange at the end of the second minute. He drilled Bradley on the chin repeatedly with 30 seconds left. At one point late in the round, a CompuBox graphic indicated Pacquiao had outlanded Bradley 27-9. You almost have to wonder if the Nevada commission screwed up and reversed everything on the master scorecard here, because favoring Bradley borders on unfathomable.

 Round 8

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: Ross and Ford score for Bradley, Roth scores for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Yes, this one could have gone either way. The punch stats said the Filipino out-landed Bradley 15-9, but truthfully, nothing much happened in this stanza.

Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao - Photo Credit: Will HartRound 9

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: Roth and Ross score for Pacquiao, Ford scores for Bradley

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? No. Pacquiao won the first two minutes. Both men were landing effectively in the final minute, but while Bradley was having good moments, Pacquiao was having more of them.

Round 10

My score: 10-9 Bradley

Judges’ scores: All three score for Bradley

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Obviously, based on my card, yes. Bradley landed a few nice combinations, plus one clubbing right around Pacquiao’s guard, and the defending titlist did very little in the round. 

Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao - Photo Credit: Will HartRound 11

My score: 10-9 Bradley

Judges’ scores: Roth and Ross score for Bradley, Ford scores for Pacquiao

Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Again, yes. It was a close round, but Bradley was more consistent and seemed to edge it with a couple of well-placed body shots late.

Round 12

My score: 10-9 Pacquiao

Judges’ scores: All three score for Bradley

 Was it close enough to score for Bradley? Yes, but I didn’t hesitate to give it to Pacquiao. A nice right hook to the jaw during a mid-round exchange and a final straight left with 10 seconds left appeared to be enough to clinch it for Pac-Man.

Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley - Photo Credit: Will HartIn the end, re-watching and re-scoring as carefully as I could, my scorecard read 118-110, just one round different from HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman’s tally of 119-109. As Lederman said on the air, “Manny Pacquiao was the aggressor all night. He walked him down, he set him up, and then he belted him with the left hand … Tim Bradley was covering up, backing up, never really landed a solid shot that stopped Pacquiao in his tracks, never hurt him once. I mean, that decision was a crime. Without question, Manny Pacquiao won the fight.”

If you look back at my notes, I found six rounds (1, 2, 8, 10, 11, and 12) that could conceivably have been scored for Bradley. So even giving him every benefit of every doubt, I can’t see how a competent, focused judge could have Bradley ahead 115-113 at the end.

Sometimes, a second look at a fight reveals something we missed the first time around. In this case, a second look confirmed what I already knew: The scorecards did not reflect what happened in the ring. And if you don’t believe me, you can see it for yourself on the HBO replay Saturday night.