WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel announced on the organization’s website on Wednesday that it will review the results of Saturday night’s split-decision victory by Tim Bradley which dethroned Manny Pacquiao as WBO welterweight beltholder at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The decision by Bradley (29-0, 12 knockouts) ended a 15-bout winning streak that had included eight knockouts for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs).
Bradley was awarded the victory on the cards of judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, while Jerry Roth had it for Pacquiao. An informal poll of 51 writers by Ryan Maquinana favored Pacquiao over Bradley, 48-3.
“I want to clarify that in no way this says that we are doubting the capacity of these judges, which we consider as honest and competent judges,” said Valcárcel.
Pacquaio out-landed Bradley in 10 of the 12 rounds, with the overall count in his favor 253-to-159. He also scored with more total jabs (63-51) and power punches (190-108). Bradley out-landed Pacquiao in only the ninth round, while the 10th was even in punches connected with each landing 14.
According to the WBO’s website, Bradley-Pacquiao “ended in a controversial result,” and Valcarcel wants “to take measures in accordance with the rules of procedure.” The website said that Valcarcel’s Championship Committee “will meet soon” and “will examine with five, recognized international judges to evaluate the video of the match.”
That panel will then “agree to what emerges,” and “the Championship Committee will make its recommendation according to the rules.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley, has requested that Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto investigate the results of the bout.
From El Paso, Tex. where he is promoting this Saturday night’s defense by WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31 KOs) against Andy Lee, Arum told RingTV.com on Wednesday that he had not yet heard from Masto.
“I think that the WBO is doing the right thing by making an imprartial inquiry. The fans are up in arms,” said Arum. “It’s a shame that the Nevada Commission has abdigated it’s responsibility, and that they’re not doing the same thing. But so be it. At least the WBO is being proactive here.”
Kizer told Yahoo!Sports that the attorney general’s office has requested information from him regarding the selection of the officials, the boxers’ licensing and the judges’ records from Bradley-Pacquiao.
“On Monday, June 11 Bob Arum, with Top Rank Inc., submitted a complaint about the decision in the Pacquiao/Bradley fight,” Jennifer M. Lopez, public information officer for the state attorney general’s office, wrote in an e-mail to Yahoo!Sports.
“We are treating this complaint like any other complaint our office receives. We will review the information submitted and take appropriate action if necessary. Per standard office policy procedures, we do not confirm or deny if we have an ongoing criminal investigation.”
“It comes off pretty strongly and very powerful the fact that Harry Reid has asked that the attorney general conduct the investigation,” said Arum. “That’s big, big news. It’s been on CNN and everything. That’s all over the place.”
Two weeks prior to defeating Antonio Margarito for the WBC’s junior middleweight belt in November of 2010, Pacquiao attended a rally for Reid, who credited him with bolstering support for his re-election.
“I am confident that there was nothing untoward,” said Reid. “I think people just make bad decisions in a lot of things they do, including judging fights. But it doesn’t hurt to clear the air and take a look at this.”
Before being elected to Congress three decades ago, Reid, a native of Nevada and one-time amateur boxer, was on the Nevada Athletic Commission and, at times, served as a boxing judge.
“It’s hard to do. It’s an inexact science. One of my very good friends was one of the judges to this fight. And from all the reports that I’ve seen by people on the outside who saw the fight, who attempted to be fair and judge the fight, Pacquiao won the fight,” said Reid.
“I understand how upset everybody is. The person that’s handled this better than anyone else is Pacquiao. He has said, ‘It’s a fight and I lost. We’ll fight again.’”
In an earlier interview with RingTV.com, Arum denied the widely speculated notion that he had something to do with influencing the result of the fight on the grounds that he wanted to make the rematch between Bradley and Pacquiao, whose contract with Top Rank is rumored to have run its course.
“We absolutely need clarity. We need this thoroughly aired. We have to have everybody, including myself and everybody connected with the fight in for some serious questioning. And then we’ll find out once and for all what happened,” said Arum, who said Pacquiao’s contract “has another year and a half” remaining.
“If it was just a mistake by these judges, then okay, then maybe you resort to proper training or we don’t use them anymore. I want to see a thorough investigation to see what, if anything, was said to whom. That’s what the public wants and what the public deserves. They public wants clarity. The fact that three officials scored the fight incorrectly is secondary.What is important is how and why this happened.”
“I thought that it was too close,” said Roach, during the post-fight press conference. “Even though they gave it to us, I was really surprised that they had given it to us so closely. I had us winning by about 10 rounds to two.”
Pacquiao said: “I didn’t listen to the announcement, because I thought that I won the fight on all of the judges’ cards,” adding, “I thought that I won the fight, so I wasn’t concerned.”
Should the WBO find fault with the verdict, the organizations rules allow for it to make Pacquiao the No. 1 contender and to order an immediate rematch.
Valcarcel told Yahoo!Sports that the WBO would not strip Bradley of the title no matter what its independent review found. That would only differ, he said, if corruption was found.
“I have known Roth and Duane and Cynthia [Ross] for many, many years and they are wonderful, honest people and excellent judges,” Valcarcel said. “We just want Nevada to consider all of the judges. Nevada picks its judges and we want them to consider who we recommend,” said Valcarcel.
“I gave them a list of 20 judges, from all around the world – New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, everywhere – and they were great judges. I think this is a great opportunity for the ABC [Association of Boxing Commissions] and the sanctioning bodies to work together. I am not saying there was anything going on here, but I just think it would be important for Nevada, and all the states, to work with us on the selection [of officials].”
Bradley and Pacquiao already have contracted for a Nov. 10 rematch, but Arum said that’s not the point.
“If this was a professional football game, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his people would have everybody in by now, questioning them and so forth. People want clarity,” said Arum.
“People will forgive a mistake if there is clarity that nothing untoward happened. If they’re too dumb to see that, then it’s really sad. You can’t put your heads in the sand, here. Something absolutely inexplicable happened on Saturday night.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org