It was one of the most horrifyingly wrong decisions in boxing history. It's a loss that mars the record of an all-time great. It might further delay a dream match with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
And, despite all that, the surprise split-decision loss to Tim Bradley might just be the best thing that could have possibly happened for Manny Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum.
That may seem counterintuitive. But think about it for a minute. Manny Pacquiao's calves were the talk of the boxing world this week. His calves! When you think of world-class athletes, especially boxers, it's not the muscle group that comes immediately to mind.
But when a boxer is as transcendentally good as Manny, hucksters have to do whatever they can to sell a fight. Truth be told, only the most hardcore of hardcore boxing fans knew much about Tim Bradley going into the fight with Pacquiao. Those who were in the know didn't have much confidence in his ability to beat the sport's top star.
Something had to be done to convince people that Manny was vulnerable. After all, you don't sell a million or more pay per views for a blowout.
They sold this show on the idea that marital woes, controversy, and sore calves would slow Manny Pacquiao down. Now, at least, they have a real angle for a money bout. Talking to the media on press row, Arum was far from despondent at his superstar fighter's shocking loss:
"We'll make a lot of money on the rematch, but this is (expletive) nuts. People don't even know what they're watching. They're trying to kill boxing," the 81-year-old Arum said.
Manny Pacquiao was running out of options for money fights. Fans wanted to see Floyd Mayweather across the ring from him. Anyone else, no matter how great the fighter, was destined to be a disappointment.
This awful decision gives Arum and Pacquiao another option. There's a new money fight for the long time champion—vengeance against Bradley and the corrupt boxing system. It sells itself.
So you can forgive Bob Arum if he's not shedding any tears tonight. The boxing establishment solved a serious problem for him and his legendary fighter. With Mayweather behind bars and reluctant to fight, it becomes the most interesting bout in the foreseeable future. The loss may be bad for his legacy—but it's going to be very good for Pacquiao's pocketbook.