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Was June 9, 2012 the Day Boxing Died?

June 11, 2012 Front Page, Sports 17 Comments

The history of boxing from its beginning until now is littered with controversy: Jack Johnson’s life and career, the Ring Magazine scandal in 1976, Don King, mobsters, The Roy Jones Jr. 1988 Olympic scandal, and even recently, Antonio Margarito’s plaster gloves. Even “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali was not immune to it. His second fight against Sonny Liston, which gave us one of the most iconic sporting images of all time, was not without controversy, as some people believe Ali never actually hit Liston and that Liston took a dive – but last night’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley might have given the already dwindling sport its final knock-out blow.

Simply put, Manny Pacquiao was robbed last night. I watched the fight myself and my scorecard had Pacquiao winning 11 of 12 rounds. The experts on both HBO PPV and ESPN had the fight scored highly in Pacquiao’s favor.

According to the CompuBox stats, Manny Pacquiao landed 253 total punches out of 751 thrown for a total of 34 percent. Tim Bradley, on the other hand, landed only 159 punches out of 839 thrown for a total of 19 percent. The math didn’t add up to Pacquiao losing, neither did the naked eye just watching the fight. It’s possible Bradley, in the absolute most favorable judgement, won three of 12 rounds but Manny won the other nine and it really wasn’t close. No fighter was knocked down during the fight, but Pacquiao wobbled Bradley quite a few times, hit him with more power punches, and had Bradley backing up throughout many flurries during the fight. Bradley was quoted as saying while waiting for the decision on the fight “I tried hard, but I couldn’t beat the guy.'” But the judges thought differently and Bradley won in a 2-1 split decision, and with that judgement, could have doomed the future of boxing.

The popularity of boxing has been dwindling in recent years for a few reasons.  Boxing is at its healthiest when the heavyweight division is doing well and has popular superstars. No offense to the Klitschko brothers, but the heavyweight division hasn’t been good since the era of Tyson, Holyfield, and Lewis. However, the main reason boxing’s popularity is dwindling is because of the emergence of the sport of MMA and the dominant UFC organization.

Now, I have never been a big fan of MMA, I prefer the sweet science of boxing to the gladiator colosseum-like brutality and blood lust of MMA. Now that’s not to say there is no technique or science involved in MMA, there is, I just believe boxing is more of a science and about technique. I may not be into the sport of MMA, but I do respect the head organization, UFC and its president, Dana White. The reason why MMA continues to grow in popularity and boxing continues to drop off is because of two main things, the product and the consumers (fans).

First, let’s take a look at the product. UFC is a well-run organization that strives to put out the best product possible. Boxing, however, lacks organization and unity and rarely puts out the best product. In the UFC, you will see the best fighters fight each other. In boxing, especially recently, that doesn’t always happen. The two best and most popular boxers right now are Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., but they still have never fought each other (something I wrote about more than a year ago here and why the sport of boxing needed it to happen) and now after the Pac Bradley fight, may never fight each other. Some say UFC has a monopoly on the sport of MMA, but I think whatever stronghold they have on the sport of MMA is a good thing. The best fighters go to UFC and fight for a championship. Smaller MMA organizations and local/state organizations do exist as almost a minor league for the sport. Boxing needs its version of the UFC, which would bring a much-needed generalized sense of unification. That has never and will likely never happen, although it could be the one thing that could save the corrupt, tarnished, and disorganized sport of boxing.

The fans are the most important aspect to any sport’s survival, and after last night’s controversy, I believe that many casual fans will turn away from boxing for good. There is no trust in boxing and if, as a fan, you can’t trust that the product you are watching is authentic, that product may not be around much longer. There is no way that Dana White and the UFC would have allowed something like this to happen in their organization. Boxing has a major trust issue that I don’t know if it can ever earn back any of the trust lost.

The sport will never fully die off because, like people who stay in unhealthy relationships, some fans will always return regardless of the abuse they’ve taken. Not this fan. As a kid, I remember watching Mike Tyson fight, but that’s how boxing will continue to live on to me, only through classic fights. I cannot trust boxing after last night and I am not the only one.

Sportswriters, athletes, and fans across the world are speaking out today about what happened last night. This isn’t just a few fans or conspiracy theorists talking about a sport being fixed, everyone is talking about it. Something really bad happened last night and to what extent may not be known for a long time. There are rumors of a lot of late money in Vegas being bet on the underdog Bradley before the fight.

Was the fight fixed? Or were there just two blind incompetent judges who saw the fight differently than the rest of the world? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between those two thoughts? What happened last night is not immediately clear, but with a sport that has a history of trust issues and credibility, something doesn’t smell right at all. I predict there will be documentaries made and stories written on what happened last night – that’s how bad it was.

Promoter Bob Arum, who represents both fighters and who some believe is behind this controversy said last night,  “I’ve never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight.”  I say: you, sir are a liar!

The main person who will profit off this controversy is promoter Bob Arum, and the rematch has already been set for November 10th. Timothy Bradley will profit as will Manny Pacquiao, and while I’m not certain either fighter had any involvement in the fix last night, both will profit heavily from a rematch. Lots of people will profit from this nonsense unless the fans take a stand and refuse to pay anymore for an inferior product. Even if the fight wasn’t fixed, the sport has no organization and allows judges to sway the outcome however they feel like. The two judges who awarded the fight to Timothy Bradley should never be able to judge a boxing match ever again. The fans can no longer trust the sport of boxing and we shouldn’t let the sport burn us again until major changes are made to the structure of the sport. Boxing was hit with a major black eye last night with the whole world watching.

Who cares if there is a rematch in November? Who cares if Pacquiao and Mayweather fight each other next? If there is any hope of this sport surviving, and I don’t know that there is, the whole sport will have to overhaul everything from the power that promoters have, to all the championship belts that exist, to judges, and everything in between. There is no reason to watch boxing anymore because giving the sport money and attention will allow things like this to continue to happen.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I will no longer support boxing in its current form because this was the final straw. Boxing seems as scripted to me now as professional wrestling is – in fact, I was waiting for the Rock to come out and lay the smack down on someone after the fight ended. That’s how bad last night was. It was so bad that the number one trending topic after the fight on twitter was #RIPBoxing. The Twitterverse is right, there is no quick fix to save boxing, and I don’t know if it can ever fully recover. But to me, June 9th will be known as the night that boxing died.


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Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

    • terance says:

      any1 can see it was fixed alot of heavyrollers bet and bought the judges,they just didn’t think the public would say anything also in the main judges words manny won 6 rounds were did the other round or rounds come from and i thought u had to beat the champ completely yet he didn’t even in there own words this is just smoke to make us see it there way,like there saying take the hit we were right, even though no one saw it that way

  1. patricia mathis says:

    pacquiao won & it shows here in the 2nd run of the fight

  2. warzone says:

    the only round i would give to bradley is round 10 thats it…i dont know what fight they where watching…

  3. Dean Campoli says:

    bradley did not win the fight

  4. richard says:

    i hate to say it but bradley loss out right

  5. mike adam says:

    the world knows the pacquiao has win this fight and even bradley knows to judge were bought out and i think no body should hire these stupid judge and they should be account able for there wrong decision which they did for money off-course money,
    and for pac man should not fight in USA again for re-match

  6. Ross says:


  7. Lance Valdez says:

    I got Manny winning every round except the 10 th round, Manny out punched and outboxed Tim Bradley. This is a very serious mistake, boxing fans and I wonder how much money did Bob Arum and the two judges made that night?

    • Justin Burkhardt says:

      Glad to see almost everyone feels the same way about the way the fight ended. I re-watched the fight when regular HBO replayed it on Saturday night, this time i was looking to give Bradley the benefit of the doubt. And maybe if i was being generous could have given Bradley 3 of the 12 rounds, at the most. But Pacquiao def won the other 9 rounds. Watching it a 2nd time & even searching for ways to sway to give rounds to Bradley it still didn’t even add up to a draw for him, let alone a win. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the sport, but i think we now will never see Pacquaio Mayweather, and even if we do it’ll be a bad fight because both will be older and at the end of their careers. The heavyweight division is basically non existent and outside of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, i’m not really excited by any other “up and coming” fighters. MMA’s popularity is on the rise & many casual sports fans were turned off by this result & combined with pac & mayweather not fighting. If boxing changes its corrupt ways especially with promoters/judges, if boxing gets some unity, if boxing gets some good young stars who choose boxing over mma , & if the heavyweight division becomes strong again – boxing can really survive- if not it’ll be tough to exist as anything but a small niche sport. It’ll always be around for the hardcore fans, but it’ll be like horse racing & track & field – things we pay attention to every once in awhile for a few minutes.

      • Blind Man says:

        The winner of the Fight was obvious, Even if Manny had knocked Bradley out, after he came to, the Judges still would have given Bradley the fight.

  8. i will never pay for boxing again ever

  9. judy Johnson says:

    Im with you.This injustice has left me with a bad sour taste in my mouth. Im so P.O.d that I can’t see straight. I too have lost my love of boxing and I really loved it,no more. It impossible for me to enjoy watching a fight. I thought my head was going to pop off when they announced Tim the winner. He knew Damm well he lost. He saud Duh? I’ll have to look at thetape. Very upsetting state of affairs! What happaned???

    • allan valenzuela says:

      Yes me too feels like dont want to watch boxing in PPV. This is because of the poor judge . I f they will not change this I think boxing will start to decline. tht’s to tell you frankly. as of my survery, even in my whole family. so I think they need to do something to prevent this happened again or else good bye boxing.

  10. Justin Burkhardt says:

    Months later and even the olympics now had a boxing controversy – the sport just can’t shake them http://deadspin.com/5931226/was-this-disgraceful-olympic-boxing-match-fixed

  11. jiterbug says:

    fights like this in boxing is reson why i don`t watch much boxing anymore…theres a lot less bullshit in the ufc………..jiterbug

  12. Ian Forbes says:

    I agree with everything Justin Burkhardt wrote on this topic. I watched and re-wated the fight trying to see what the judges saw and came to the conclusion that they were bribed. Enough said.

    That said however, I’ve currently been watching the boxing at the 2012 Olympics in London. I think the IOC must have hired similar crooked judges and referees for some of the Olympic fights. Some of the bad judgements have been incredible.

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