Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pacquiao-Bradley Aftermath

The immediate emotional reaction and social hysteria dies down from Timothy Bradley's controversial SD (split-decision) victory over Manny Pacquiao that saw some misguided and enthusiastic souls dubbed the decision as the: "Robbery of the Century". Cooler heads seemed to have prevailed and many boxing fans and insiders are now viewing the Pacquiao-Bradley decision as an incorrect one, as opposed to the "worst of all time" one. Here are 3 points that stood out in my mind following the controversial outcome:

1- The judging criteria for scoring a round in professional boxing are based on: -Clean effective punching, Effective aggression as well as defense and ring generalship, with the emphasis being on clean effective punching. However, judging is subjective and the Pacquiao-Bradley fight had many rounds that could be deemed "swing rounds" (2,3,7,9,11,12 qualify in my opinion) swings rounds are rounds in which the fighter who landed the cleaner blows isn't clear cut, therefore you are left to score the round based on the other two criteria. When a fight has approximately 6 swing rounds, what often happens is that judges will split the swing rounds between the two fighters (3 each). On June 9th, it seemed that two of the judges scored almost ALL of the swing rounds in favor of Bradley. Something seldom seen in regards to the underdog fighter. The decision was a product of statistical improbability as opposed to a product of complete incompetence or corruption. 

2- That being said, the way a boxing fight is scored needs to be consistently revisited. It's impossible to ignore that many casual fight fans thought Pacquiao was the clear winner which begs the question: Is scoring a fight too complicated to begin with? Keep in mind that many boxing fans watch a fight and determine a winner at the end instead of scoring it on a round by round basis. Most of the time, the two formats will come up with the same winner, however in some cases fights are different and much closer when scored round by round. Pacquiao won rounds in clearer fashion than Bradley did but theoretically to win a round by a close or large margin (minus knockdowns or fouls) results in a 10-9 score. Should the loser of a close round get a 9.5 score instead of a full 1 point deduction? This scoring method applied in some parts of the world should definitely be looked at being adopted universally. Under the 0.5 scoring format Pacquiao would have been the clear winner.

3- Ultimately though what stuck with me immediately after the fight was that the Manny Pacquiao who dominated and knocked out consecutively ( from Jun 08 to Nov 09) David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto is no more. Pacquiao who at age 33 and 60 fights into his career (his first pro fight was at age 15) has shown signs of decline having gone the full 12rds distance in his last 5 fights. He hasn't looked (in this bloggers humble opinion) particularly impressive in his last 3 contests (Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley) especially in the second half of fights. Maybe that's a case of Manny establishing such high standards and I'm being overly critical but be that as it may, this version of Manny the one we just saw fight Bradley would not be able to defeat P4P rival Floyd Mayweather...

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