The decision to award Bradley the victory and the title was inexplicable, unjust and unexpected. But the frustration and bewilderment is the sole reason the general public is still talking about the sport days later.
That's something boxing fans need to be alarmed about.
Pacquiao-Bradley wasn't the fight most boxing fans wanted to see. Their clash in Las Vegas on Saturday was very much a consolation in the eyes of those who've longed to see Pacquiao take on Floyd Mayweather Jr. to determine the sport's true pound-for-pound king. But following the shocking decision in which Pacquiao was robbed, the boxing world is again mired in controversy — controversy that has extended the shelf life of a typical boxing conversation.
It's unfortunate, really, but the Pacquiao-Bradley decision is the latest in what has become a trend throughout the sport. Rather than walking away from a fight with a sense of closure, questions answered and a desire for more actual boxing, we're consistently seeing highly publicized bouts only stir up more questions. And those questions go beyond simply in-ring production.
The worst part of it all is the apparent gain boxing has the potential to get from all of its failures. While the adage "there's no such thing as bad publicity" doesn't hold truth in all instances, it's certainly worth considering in what was recently deemed by many to be a dead sport
First, there was the legality of Mayweather's knockout on Victor Ortiz last September. Then, there was Pacquiao's wishy-washy decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November. Now, there's the whole Pacquiao-Bradley controversy, which has the WBO reviewing the bout and Sen. Harry Reid calling for an investigation.
Either of those two processes won't likely yield much in the way of results, and does it matter? As unfortunate as it was to see Pacquiao robbed at the hands of the judges who ruled in Bradley's favor over the weekend, little is going to change the public's perception that boxing is suspect, if not corrupt. The problem is that the skepticism surrounding the sport's integrity has only seemed to raise the overall public interest, rather than turn people away.
Boxing's glory days are a thing of the past, especially with the emergence of mixed martial arts in recent years, but with intriguing — albeit for the wrong reasons — storylines now evolving left and right, the sport may be on the verge of a Renaissance.
Before the recent string of controversies, when was the last time you sat around and talked boxing with your buddies? (I'm speaking, of course, to those not typically prone to boxing conversations.) Yet now here we are, hearing the discussions, chiming in and, in many instances, feeling passionately about the topic.
Boxing has, in many ways, become a glorified soap opera. A WWE clone, if you will. That sucks for boxing fans who just want to see a satisfactory effort when it comes to maintaining any shred of purity the sport still has.
A Pacquiao versus Bradley rematch should be the focus, or even a separate pair of bouts involving the two fighters. Instead, it's the battle between objectivity and subjectivity that we're all concerned about, and that's a fight that will always be a losing one. Or so we thought.
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