Pacquiao vs Bradley: Why Investigation Won't Do Justice for Boxing Fans

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09:  Timothy Bradley (R) has his hand raised in victory after defeating Manny Pacquiao by split decision to win the WBO welterweight championship at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The shocking decision to reward Timothy Bradley a questionable victory over Manny Pacquiao dealt a major low blow to boxing that an investigation cannot undo.

Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross each awarded Bradley a 115-113 edge to award him the World Boxing Organization welterweight title in a controversial verdict that led many boxing fans to consider conspiracy theories.

Although Pacquiao controlled the majority of the bout, Bradley rolled away (he attended the post-fight press conference in a wheelchair) with the victory. Pacquiao landed 253 punches to Bradley's 159 and accumulated more hits than the victor in 10 of 12 rounds.

Before anyone could even process the events that just transpired, they watched the build-up for an upcoming rematch between the two fighters. That certainly did not help angry fans cool down as they now held a reason to believe the sport financially benefited from the noteworthy split-decision.

Prior to a second showdown between Pacquiao and Bradley, promoter Bob Arum wants to formally look into the fight's results. Arum, who works for both fighters, filed a request to Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto to commence an investigation to see if any of the conspiracy theories hold credence.

If this was a subjective view that each of [the judges] honestly held, OK. I would still disagree, but then we're off the hook in terms of there being no conspiracy. But there needs to be an independent investigation because it strains credulity that an event everybody saw as so one-sided one way all three judges saw it as close.

Since Pacquiao wants the rematch, the fight likely is not in too much jeopardy. An exploration into the fight's shady scoring might briefly satisfy some frustrated boxing fans, but what will it really accomplish in the long run?

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09:  (L-R) Manny Pacquiao lands a left to the head of Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Perhaps this is just a cynical outlook, but a formal investigation is unlikely to lead to the uncovering of any earth-shattering evidence that unfolds a major conspiracy. In the end, their excessive digging will lead to nothing, and a lot of time and money will go down the drain without any tangible results.

This does not necessarily mean that the results could not be part of a conspiracy, but how can they possibly prove it?

Also, Arum's outrage over the decision seems more like a PR move to save face and distance himself from the fury of those calling shenanigans. If Arum is the promoter, something tells me he played a part in promoting the rematch right after Saturday's fight. 

Boxing fans are outraged, and they have every right. If they have to shell out $60 to wait for Pacquaio to finish watching the Boston Celtics lose Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they should at least know that the winner is going to, you know, win.

David Stern might as well have stopped the Miami Heat celebration to declare that, despite the score, the Celtics are advancing to the NBA Finals because they "taught Miami a lesson" on playing team basketball. Basketball fans already think the NBA is fixed anyway.

At this rate, boxing barely holds any more credibility than the WWE. At least Vince McMahon acknowledged that he screwed Brett Hart in the infamous Montreal Screwjob match against Shawn Michaels.

As controversial decisions scar every fight and the only matchup the world wants to see will probably never happen, boxing is falling from relevancy faster than the black silhouette in Mad Men's opening credits.

Unfortunately, an investigation will not stop the free-fall and prevent boxing from crashing to the ground. The search will be nothing more than a show put on to try to convince boxing fans that the sport is truly concerned with maintaining its credibility. 

Instead, the investigation will keep the maddening decision in the spotlight for a little longer and give boxing fans more time to stew in anger.

Maybe a prominent star losing a match on a split-decision will cause enough backlash that people will realize the lunacy of leaving the results of a major bout with a decision holding major implications in the hands of three men.  

Nothing will cover the black eye inflicted onto boxing by the head-scratching conclusion to the Pacquiao vs. Bradley contest. Boxing fans are going to be furious for a long time, and the sport is in grave danger of losing all cultural significance if the men watching outside the ring continue to make more headlines than the actual fighters.