While the boxing world waits for Filipino congressman Manny Pacquiao to decide on his next opponent, the father of Pacquiao's last opponent, Timothy Bradley Sr., has been making the case that his son is the only honorable choice.
In an interview posted earlier today by Boxingscene.com, the elder Bradley told Chris Robinson:
"Both fighters owe it to the fans. The fans want to see a rematch. God is good and my son was victorious. He worked his butt off, he's not getting justice. They should automatically jump on it and redo it."
Bradley Jr. of course beat Pacquiao by split-decision last June, in one of the most controversial and widely criticized decisions in years. Almost every boxing fan and writer who watched the fight had Pacquiao winning by wide margins; many had him taking 10 or 11 rounds.
In his interview with Robinson, Bradley Sr. made the valid point that his son had been forced to compete at a big disadvantage, with serious injuries to both his left foot and right ankle.
However, in asserting, "I feel Pacquiao would have got knocked to hell out if my son had been able to shift the power on either leg," he might be overstating things a little bit. Bradley is a rugged and skillful technician, but he has just 12 stoppages in 29 fights.
I had Pacquiao winning nine rounds to three in June. Still, I would have to agree that had Bradley been fighting with the benefit of a decent set of wheels, the fight might have gone differently. Considering that he was facing a badly injured opponent, Pacman looked less than spectacular.
The elder Bradley emerged last spring as a charismatic, if not exactly politically correct, figure during the 24/7 series that HBO ran during the build up to the fight.
In today's kinder, gentler (read: wussier) American society, a lot of parenting experts would no doubt recoil from the old school motivational tactics father Bradley employed during junior's childhood years.
But those more familiar with the brutal realities of boxing would have no trouble recognizing the sincere paternal care and concern. Bradley Sr. knew he was preparing his boy to someday face men who would be intent on hurting him badly. Training to box is serious business, even for youths.
From all outward appearances, the father and son have maintained a close, loving relationship. And the 29-year-old Desert Storm has developed not only into a world-class talent in the ring, but also into a devoted family man in his own right.
Bradley Sr. also deserves credit for avoiding a common mistake made by boxing fathers: when his son reached a certain stage in his development, dad stepped aside to make room for Joel Diaz, a world-class trainer.
But it is always clear that his emotional investment in his son is immeasurable. While I agree with the screaming masses that Bradley didn't deserve to win, I have felt a twinge of regret all along to see such a solid boxing citizen cast into the role of villainous usurper through no fault of his own.
As somebody who believes Juan Manuel Marquez received an unfair loss in both of his last two fights against Pacquiao, I would love to see the 39-year-old Mexican legend get one final shot.
At the same time, I feel that Pacquiao's loss to Bradley was even more unjust. And I would love to see what Bradley might do the next time around, on two healthy legs and with the benefit of the experience he gained in June.
And being an old school kind of guy, I would definitely look forward to another series of 24/7 and more camera time for Papa Bradley.
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