IF WE are to go strictly by the facts, the first fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley was a draw.
OK, here’s why.
After the fight went the distance in June 2012, Bradley won by split decision after winning the nod of two judges. The third judge went to Pacquiao.
The verdict drew the ire of everyone except Bradley’s mother.
Responding to the furor, the World Boxing Organization formed a new jury to review the fight. Result: Pacquiao won by unanimous decision.
With that, the first verdict declaring Bradley the winner had been cancelled out. Draw.
But as in virtually all sporting contests, the decision of the original judges is final. Any verdict of a second batch of judges doesn’t count.
But the brouhaha would have been avoided had Pacquiao not held back his punches in the
latter part of the fight. He could have knocked Bradley out if he wanted to.
He started strong and appeared headed to an easy victory. With his usual explosiveness, a knockout was within sight. But from the middle rounds onwards, Pacquiao slowed down—inexplicably.
Numerous were instances that he’d stop an assault in progress.
Bradley has said Pacquiao has lost his “killer instinct,” effectively making Pacquiao’s vaunted knockout punch flying not only to the moon but also to Jupiter and Mars.
Now look: Even as Bradley is unbeaten in 31 fights, he doesn’t look unbeatable like Floyd Mayweather Jr. Wasn’t he knocked down by Ruslan Provodnikov only a while back?
“Since Bradley is saying I have lost my killer instinct, then I oblige,” Pacquiao has said in Tagalog. “I will give it to him in our next fight.”
That will be tomorrow, when Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) seeks to reclaim his world welterweight crown.
He really should kayo Bradley. That is the only way to ward off controversies, doubts, in the process restoring his lofty perch on the throne.
Now if Pacquiao, 35, wins on points, with Bradley, 30, barely hurt even if he loses all 12 rounds, it’d be a hollow victory.
In short, a Pacquiao triumph by knockout is what the moment demands of him. Otherwise, retire. The sunset beckons.