Subliminal, Controversial, Good For Boxing
It’s been nearly a week since the world was stunned by Timothy Bradley’s shocking split decision over boxing legend Manny Pacquiao last Saturday night from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The upset victory, which awarded Bradley the Filipino icon’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title, has been the talk of the town nearly everywhere over the past week.
Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, has since pushed the WBO to review the controversial decision in hopes of obtaining “clarity” regarding the judging of the fight. However, the decision will more than likely stand considering that’s how the sport of boxing operates.
Sure, the decision was unfair, unjust, whatever you wish to call it. But let’s get a few things straight.
Contrary to what’s been written post-fight, the bout wasn’t completely one-sided and Pacquiao’s loss will not hurt boxing in the long run.
HBO’s unofficial ringside judge, Harold Lederman, scored the bout 119-109 while every HBO commentator similarly had Pacquiao winning a lopsided bout.
But did Pacquiao really deserve to win a lopsided bout?
According to Jerry Roth, the lone judge that had Pacquiao defeating Bradley 115-113, people watching the bout on television may have been influenced by Lederman and the HBO commentating crew.
Many feel Roth raises a valid point.
Casual viewers watching the bout at home or at a sports bar are not going to sit with pen and pad in hand prepared to score each round individually. Hence, most use Lederman as a gauge to determine how the bout is playing out. Therefore, if by fight’s end, Lederman is communicating to the world that a bout isn’t the least bit close, anything other than a decision for his “winner” will be perceived as a great travesty.
Overall, Lederman is a solid judge, but he is far from perfect as his scorecards have been quite enigmatic in the past. Saturday was one of those nights.
HBO’s lead commentator Jim Lampley is notorious for waving his cheerleading Pom Poms towards the HBO house fighter. Lampley often gives most rounds to the HBO favorite and at times takes it a step further by giving that fighter credit for punches he didn’t land. Saturday night proved to be more of the same from him.
Do those things influence the audience? Can they be subliminal? Without a doubt.
In fact, HBO’s fight night brainwashing worked on me. And keep in mind that I have been analyzing the sport of boxing for nearly fifteen years.
On fight night I scored the bout 9-2-1 in favor of Pacquiao. After a second look, without the HBO commentary playing in the background, I scored the bout 7-4-1 in favor of Pacquiao. If I give that even round to Bradley, my scorecard reads 7-5.
That’s hardly one of the worst decisions of all-time.
Perhaps the worst part of it all, according to boxing pundits, is how Bradley’s unexpected victory has seemingly thrown a wrench into a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao bout. They contend this is yet another black eye for boxing.
I beg to differ.
The rematch will be bigger than Saturday’s bout by a significant margin. Bradley is now a certified name, a charismatic fighter who performed fairly well when he was finally given his shot at the big time. And of course, Pacquiao’s hardcore legion of fans will rally behind him, vehemently demanding justice in a return bout.
By all accounts, November 10 will be the day these two meet again. Both stand to make significantly more money through live gate and pay-per-view sales. The boxing fan’s interest will be stronger than ever.
Now that doesn’t seem too bad for the state of boxing, does it?
That said, note to self: In preparation for the rematch, keep a good pen and pad close and turn that volume down. Yes, it will likely be one of those nights again.
Fight-TV would like to thank our guest writer Brute Boxer for this report