If you need to know just how badly Manny Pacquiao was beating Timothy Bradley before a controversial decision gave Desert Storm the victory, all you needed to see was how close Pac-Man was to knocking out Bradley during this fight.
And it wasn't on just one occasion. Early in the fight, Pac-Man's power forced Bradley to stumble across the ring several times as he absorbed the former welterweight champ's crushing blows.
Even the fight's promoter, Bob Arum, believes Bradley was well on his way to being knocked out before he started to fight with a more conservative approach. Arum shared his views in a radio interview with Fox Sports Radio, per SportsRadioInterviews.com:
If Bradley had continued to fight as aggressively as he had fought in the earlier rounds Manny would’ve knocked him out probably but Bradley eased up in the last three rounds and once a fighter eases up he becomes very difficult to knock out.
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Pacquiao's out-classing of the lesser fighter was evident from the first round. His dominance and superior power shook Bradley to his core.
But my question is: If Bradley was fighting such a great fight and taking rounds during the middle of the bout as the judges had scored, then why would he need to change his style if it was so successful?
That's because Bradley was getting beat down, round after round, and couldn't afford to keep the pace he had set with Pacquiao to start the fight. Instead, Desert Storm had to pull back or else he would have been knocked out for sure, as reiterated by Arum himself.
Furthermore, it's more absurd that one of the fight's judges, Duane Ford, foolishly stated that Bradley had given Pacquiao a "boxing lesson," according to Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Maybe it was how to be less aggressive than the other fighter, get out-punched and still win the fight? Or maybe the lesson was how not to get knocked out?
The only lesson that is crystal clear in this situation is how a fighter can never leave the decision to judges. Boxers must finish the fight themselves to avoid this kind of debacle, and make no mistake about it, Pac-Man was close.
Arum's quote just adds to the absurdity of this shocking decision. It's another example of just how clear it was that Pacquiao was dominating his challenger and almost helped boxing avoid this messy situation.