What are you supposed to do if you are Timothy Bradley right now?
You have just been awarded arguably the most controversial win in the history of professional boxing over fan-favorite Manny Pacquiao, and the entire sports world is furious.
You are now the villain of the sport and you didn’t do anything wrong. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who represents you, was quoted saying this to the media (via ESPN): “When I came into the ring [after the fight], I said to Tim, 'You did very well,' and he said 'I tried hard and I couldn't beat the guy.”
You never addressed what Arum said, but in a bout where you were out-punched 253 to 159, only landing more punches in two rounds and coming away with more damage to your body, it’s hard to believe you didn’t say something to that effect before the decision was announced.
After the match (in a wheelchair because you severely damaged both of your feet), you sounded like a guy desperate to prove he was worthy of winning (via Telegraph): “Manny hurt me a few times with his left hand. He's a beast. But my corner told me if I won the last round, I'd win the fight. I've got to give Manny a rematch.”
Why would the winner want a rematch?
If that’s not bad enough, even your manager Cameron Dunkin scored the fight 8-4 in favor of Pacquiao according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael.
Then he said this to the press about the decision (via USA Today): “I know Tim's very grateful that he won. He has nothing to do with the decision. There's nothing corrupt going on, and if there was something corrupt going on, Tim wouldn't have won.”
Bradley is in the impossible position to pretend like he won even though everything points to a Pacquiao landslide. Is he supposed to just surrender the win? Oscar De Lay Hoya thinks so:
Bradley should have given the belt and announce victory to paquiao right after the decision.— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) June 10, 2012
While that scenario will never happen, the integrity of the sport is currently at stake and Bradley needs to realize as much. He needs to acknowledge that he may not have won, but is happy to settle the score in a rematch.
What should Timothy Bradley do?
This is unprecedented territory and it’s hard to figure out what the best plan of action might be. For now Bradley stands at 29-0 and is never going to let that change. He won’t be 28-1, but publicly acknowledging that the fight may have been scored differently by most experts will help.
It won’t fix the problem, but it would at least help, as a rematch in November seems destined to happen with a large cloud hovering over it.
Because that’s where we’re at in the world of boxing right now. We need winners of bouts to come out and apologize for being awarded the victory.
Good luck handling the most awkward position a boxer has ever been in Desert Storm.