Timothy Bradley promised to shock the world with a win over eight-division champ Manny Pacquiao, but he seemed as shocked as anyone when he did just that Saturday night inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
"It was a good fight. Every round was pretty close. Pacquiao won the early rounds, I won the later rounds with my jab. I have to go home and see the tape to see who won," said the undefeated Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs), who snapped the Filipino superstar's seven-year, 15-fight win streak and stole his World Boxing Organization welterweight title with a controversial split decision victory.
A fuming Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents both Pacquiao and Bradley, said he didn't need to watch a replay — immediately lashing out against the judges' decision (Jerry Roth scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao, while both C.J. Ross and Duane Ford favored Bradley 115-113).
"When I came into the ring, I said to Tim, 'You did very well,' and he said 'I tried hard and I couldn't beat the guy. You talk about killing boxing. Even (Bradley's manager, Cameron Dunkin) had it 8-4 for Pacquiao," Arum said.
"Something like this is so outlandish, it's a death knell for the sport. This is fucking nuts. I have both guys, and I'll make a lot of money in the rematch, but it's ridiculous. You have these old fucks who don't know what the hell they're looking at. It's incompetence. Nobody who knows anything about boxing could have Bradley ahead in the fight."
The classy Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) took the loss better than his camp, most media members who had scored the fight heavily in his favor, or millions of Internet posters around the world, saying Bradley fought a solid fight.
"I did my best, but I guess my best wasn't good enough," said Pacquiao, who said he would take Bradley up on the rematch clause in their contract, which would likely take place on November 10. "There were no surprises. He never hurt me with his punches. Most of them hit my arms. I don't know what happened.
"I respect the decision, but 100 percent believe I won the fight. We have to respect my opponent also and give him credit."
Ringside statistics seemed to support that Pacaquiao won the bout easily. In 10 of 12 rounds, Pacquiao landed more punches. Pacquiao also was more accurate, landing 34 percent of his 751 punches, while Bradley connected at a 19 percent on the 839 punches he threw. Pacquiao landed 190 power punches compared to Bradley's 108.
"I think they had their eyes closed," said Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer of the judges. "Something wasn't right, because what everyone else saw and what they saw were two different things."
The judges disagreed. Ross awarded Bradley the final three rounds and five of the last six, while Ford also scored five of the last six for Bradley.
"Going into the last rounds, my corner was telling me I had to win the last couple of rounds to win the fight," said Bradley, who showed up in a wheelchair at the postfight press conference after badly hurting his left ankle in the second round and tweaking his right ankle later on in the fight.
"I fought through the pain and used my boxing ability towards the end to win some rounds, the last five rounds, I feel, to get the victory."