In what was one of the most controversial decisions in recent memory, Timothy Bradley remained undefeated after defeating Manny Pacquiao by split decision. After the decision was in, boos rained down from the packed MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. as fans watched Pac-Man dominate the fight only to be ruled the loser.
Pacquiao himself was stunned by the decision, telling Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times he beat Bradley "no doubt."
Promoter Bob Arum, who represents both of last night's competitors, told the Associated Press:
I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight.
Pac-Man had 158 connected punches to Bradley's mere 80 through seven rounds of the contest, yet somehow found himself on the losing end of the 115-113 score by the Vegas judges.
The men who score the match are obviously more educated about the sport than the average fan in attendance or watching on pay-per-view, but anyone with eyes would tell you that Pacquiao won that fight.
Now boxing's biggest name has been defeated and the other in Floyd Mayweather Jr. is sitting in a jail cell. The sports once-shining stars are both staring at one of the lowest points in their careers.
Mayweather will serve his time and be out sooner rather than later, but the sport will have already had to try (and likely fail) at building a fighter like Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez. No disrespect to either fighter, but they don't draw in the casual boxing fan.
What boxing would truly need for Money Mayweather's return match is for him and Pac-Man to have the super-fight the sport has been dreaming of for years now. Unfortunately for the careers of both men and boxing itself, Mayweather will never agree to fight him.
Money has been ducking Pacquiao for so long now; hiding behind drug-test stipulations and whatever else comes to his or his publicist's mind. After suffering his first loss in seven years, Pac-Man will be regarded by Mayweather as "past his prime" and will never put pen to paper on the dream match.
Bradley deserves credit for the victory even if it was earned in controversial fashion, but now boxing is forced to watch its two brightest stars fade due to a stunning loss and jail time.
The fight boxing needs to wipe peoples' memories of the Bradley decision and re-hype their top stars is Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but unfortunately that doesn't seem like a likely possibility for the sport.