Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

WHAT!?

Hey Doug,
I remember reading in a mailbag that you thought Manny Pacquiao was going to get the benefit of a doubt fighting in Vegas, being the star. Looks like it didn’t turn out that way. How did you score the fight?

I admit that during the delay due to Pacquiao’s bball addiction, stretching routine and other BS, I thought maybe this is Tim Bradley’s night and Pacquiao’s just too distracted. I don’t have a personal scorecard and I don’t pretend to have any competence in scoring fights (I’m just a casual fan or at most a softcore one), but I thought Pacquiao won the fight. Some rounds were close and I do think Bradley won the last round and round 9 or maybe 10, but I think even Bradley knows he didn’t win the fight (judging from the post-fight interview with Max Kellerman inside the ring, the look on his face between rounds and before the scorecards were announced) nor did his corner think he was winning or won.

At the end of the broadcast, Emanuel Steward said something about knockouts: something about being a fan of them, that they are sorely missed or that they are the best way to determine who’s the winner of a fight. As I saw Bradley getting rocked early in the fight, I was hoping to a see a knockout or at least a knockdown. If there’s a rematch, hopefully, we’ll see one then. – DVH

There probably will be a rematch. I doubt we’ll get a knockout in that fight. Bradley doesn’t have the power to turn out Pacquiao’s lights but he has proven to have a reliable set of whiskers and he’s too elusive for the Filipino star to nail squarely. If Bradley mounted a sustained attack and tried to stay on top of Pacquiao when he had the advantage the southpaw bomber might clip him, but I think Timmy knows better than to do that.

Regarding the fight, I thought Bradley boxed very well and even fought well in spots, but I don’t think he did enough to win the majority of rounds. I thought it was a competitive fight, but one that Pacquiao clearly won. I scored it 117-111 (or nine rounds to three) for the odds favorite. I thought Bradley won the first, sixth and seventh rounds. That’s it.

I do believe there were a few close rounds. The fifth was a round I scored for Pacquiao that could have gone to Bradley in my opinion. Maybe one of the late rounds that I scored for Pacquiao, perhaps the ninth, could have gone to the undefeated American. So I can see 116-112 or 115-113 cards for Pacquiao, but to have a 115-113 tally for Bradley (or even a draw) seems as though the underdog was “given” rounds just for being competitive. There’s a difference between competitive round and a close round. I thought Bradley was competitive down the stretch, he wasn’t running away from Pacquiao, and he made the future hall of famer miss, but he did not make him pay. He didn’t put a hurt on Pacquiao, and to be honest, it didn’t seem like he was really trying to win the fight in the late rounds the official judges gave him.

That’s just my opinion. Was it the worst decision I’ve ever seen? Not at all. The Brandon Rios-Richard Abril decision just a few months ago was much worse. However, it was one of the more shocking outcomes to a fight involving a bona-fide star that I’ve seen or covered. I definitely did not envision Pacquiao getting the s__t-end of a controversial decision.

THE JUDGES

Hi,
I had Pac winning 117-111, maybe I could give Bradley one more round. It’s not Bradley’s fault he won, but in very questionable calls as this, why do the judges go home with no accountability every time? Why are they not brought on live TV and forced to explain themselves? They should be required to show their faces and answer tough questions. Thanks. – Dave

I agree, Dave. I’d like to start seeing the judges interviewed on TV after the fights (as we sometimes see the referees defend or explain controversial calls) and I’d like to see them take the podium during post-fight press conferences so their names and point of views can be part of more articles on the fight.

Here’s an article by Kevin Iole, of Yahoo! Sports, that includes comments from judge Duane Ford. If Ford made the exact same statements he made in Iole’s story to Max Kellerman during the HBO Pay Per View broadcast or to the assembled media at the post-fight press conference on Saturday night I bet there would be a little less outrage among fans today.

The clandestine manner in which boxing judges usually go about their jobs contributes to the fans’ suspicion and cynicism following controversial decisions.

DISGRACEFUL

Dougie,
What can I say? You will get all the “boxing is dead” or “fixed” rhetoric as well as a few ‘smart’ heads who will make a case for Bradley winning. But tonight was absolutely disgraceful! It makes me sick that Bob Arum will see a dime for selling a rematch. I’ve seen over 500 fights in my life and have grown numb to bad decisions. However, none has left me with such a bitter taste as this.

On one of the biggest stages of the year boxing does more to keep people away. Maybe we aren’t meant to enjoy this great sport. Maybe I’m a fool for thinking it can change for the better. I’m almost out the door, brother. I’ve done everything to convince myself to stay and defend it over the last 20 years. What would make anyone want to stay and follow boxing, Dougie? – Jay from Chi-town

The action and in-the-ring drama will keep most of us who have followed the sport for years coming back and it will convert the occasional casual/curious observer into a hardcore fan, but boxing certainly will not grow with poor judging (especially when bad scorecards ruin the results of high-profile main events that many people paid extra to watch).

It’s bad enough that the best fighters and fights are exclusive to subscription cable and pay-per-view shows in the U.S., but when the diehard fans who shell out the extra dough that keeps the sport alive in this country have their intelligence insulted with bad decisions I just don’t see boxing attracting new followers. The young potential fans hear too much complaining from the older hardcore heads to even want to bother with boxing.   

For boxing to have a fighting chance to thrive in the 21st Century something has got to be done about the quality of judging and officiating of high-profile bouts.

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