Why many believe the Pacquiao-Bradley fight was fixed
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2012-06-14
Facebook, which my friend and New York Times columnist, W. Scott Thompson, says registers 60% of total social media traffic, went abuzz with suspicions of fight fixing immediately after Timothy Bradley was declared the winner by a split decision over Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. To be brutally frank — which is the norm insofar as my writing style is concerned — your Chair Wrecker also suspects the same.

Boxing has always suffered from a reputation of being a dirty sport. The suspicion of rampant fight fixing contributed heavily to this bad reputation of boxing — more than the cuts, bruises and occasional ring deaths. Boxing is today’s toned down version of the gladiatorial games of Ancient Rome and with such a genealogy, we must always be very wary of all the bad elements that can invade this sport.

There is only one logical explanation for most boxing aficionados why those two “blind” ring judges voted in favor of Timothy Bradley — a lot of money was to be made with such a split decision. Timothy Bradley may have committed a slip of the tongue when he announced the day before the fight that he was looking forward to the rematch. He should. That would be the biggest payday of his life because he’s now the defending champion and is entitled to a share of the purse not very far from Pacquiao’s take home pay.

Why was it easy to suspect that the Pacquiao-Bradley fight was fixed? Consider these.

There are very few fighters in the horizon that can justify the big revenues of the previous Pacquiao fights. A Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout would have broken all previous revenue records but that never took off. Mayweather seems to fear getting beaten and humbled by Pacquiao. A Bradley trilogy is the best option for ensuring that there will be three big-revenue fights for Pacquiao, now obviously in his sunset years as a fighter.

Bradley is the man Pacquiao would want to beat him. He can easily knock out Bradley in their projected November rematch, setting the stage for a third mega revenue bout. The superiority of Pacquiao was evident from the 12 rounds they fought last June 10 (Manila Time).

The initial emotional reaction of many who watched the fight was that the bad decision marked the death of boxing. That’s only an initial emotional reaction. The truth is boxing is now a dying sport and if not for Manny Pacquiao, it could have been dead and buried a long time ago. Nowadays, many don’t even know and care to know who’s the reigning heavyweight champion of the world.

If indeed, the Pacquiao-Bradley fight was fixed, the next question that needs to be answered is this: Who were in on the big fix? Was this just the work of a crime syndicate who found a way to bribe two judges and rake it in from the 5 to 1 odds against Bradley? Or was Bob Arum part of the deal and the planning? And if Bob Arum was in on it, are Pacquiao and Bradley in on it too?
Another factor that feeds the suspicion that our Pacman could have been in on the big fix is the many talks and media reports that Pacquiao has been living off future fight revenues. He recently underwent negative publicity for failing to respond to queries of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on his alleged unpaid taxes. A cash-strapped Pacquiao, seeing that he has few fights left in his boxing career, is easily perceived as vulnerable to a big fix. News stories from the US purporting a sudden last minute placing of bets on Bradley reinforced this suspicion.

Bob Arum’s rant and call for an investigation didn’t convince some of those who suspected that he was in on the alleged big fix. On Facebook, several commented that Arum did that to cover his tracks. Others also pointed out that it seemed odd that Pacquiao easily accepted the judges’ decision. He had all the right to protest the decision but accepted it like a meek lamb.

The Pacquiao-Bradley fight was nowhere near the Ali-Frazier March 8, 1971 first fight. Ali may have been leading up to that point when Frazier scored a 15th round knockdown and subsequently won by a unanimous decision. Only the most biased and defective eyes would have considered Bradley’s performance to be like Joe Frazier’s in 1971. And yet, Pacquiao hardly protested the decision. Even Bradley was reported to have known and was ready to accept that he lost to Pacquiao. And yet, Pacquiao hardly pleaded his case.

Could it be the New Christian that Pacquiao has been trying to project lately that allowed him to accept being cheated so gallantly? You can believe that if you want to, but not me.

My friend Ronnie Nathanielz was right to call the decision a high crime in Las Vegas, although he would only press the issue with the two judges. Indeed, there was a high crime that was committed in Las Vegas last June 10 and we should all demand for an investigation that will bring out the whole truth.

Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”

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