June 16, 2012

Pros weigh in on the Pacquiao-Bradley controversy

The judges beat Pacquiao in Vegas
"100% I believe that I won the fight. The decision has already been done. So you have to give credit to Bradley. I'm still here. I can fight. I always believe that I won. I want a rematch." - Manny Pacquiao  

Unless you've been under a rock, by now you've heard all about the controversial Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley decision in Las Vegas last Saturday night. Or like most fight fans, you've seen the fight and have your own opinion. For those of you just emerging from under the rock to find out what all the fuss is about - undefeated Timothy Bradley "defeated" Manny Pacquiao by twelve round split decision to win the WBO welterweight title. If only it were that simple. What followed the announcement from Michael Buffer that Bradley had officially ended the Filipino superstar's 7 year winning streak was pure shock. It was difficult to find anyone who thought Bradley won the fight.

To the vast majority of boxing fans, it was a dominating performance by Pacquiao and the decision was seen as another black eye for a sport that's fast running out of eyes to blacken. The boxing media was likewise overwhelming in their collective belief that Pacquiao not only won the fight handily, but that he was robbed of his hard fought victory. KO Digest scored the fight 118-110 (10-2 in rounds) in favor of Pacquiao.

By returning scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 113-115 in favor of Timothy Bradley - the official judges Duane Ford, C.J. Ross, and Jerry Roth have spoken - so too have the boxing fans and writers. Now it's time to hear from some fighters. After all, it is they who must now navigate their way through the kind of dangerous shark infested waters of boxing where nobody, not even Manny Pacquiao, is safe from the judge's scorecards. KO Digest polled several past and present professional fighters of various shapes and sizes and here is what they each had to say in their own words about the fight, and about the now infamous decision:

The most sense Ortiz ever made

Victor Ortiz (former WBC welterweight champion) "From an outsider looking in, I thought it was an unjust fight. I think a boxer knows when he loses or when he did bad and I just thought that was a slap in the face for Pacquiao. I saw that Manny could have done whatever he wanted to do at any given time to where Bradley just had trouble from the get-go. I happen to know both fighters, and they are both good friends of mine. I could only go as far as giving one round to Timothy."


Tony Thompson (heavyweight contender) "I thought the fight was good for the first half, Pacman couldn't over run Bradley and Tim did a good job of fighting back hard even though I thought he lost every round outside of maybe the first one. I thought Pacquiao swept the fight even though Bradley keep it competitive. I didn't think Bradley was winning rounds. I was so sure of the decision I left before the fight was over in the last round and someone had to tell me that Bradley had won."

Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (former WBA light heavyweight champion) "Manny won the fight.
The decision was so bogus! My scoring was 10 to 2 for Manny Pacquiao."

Brandi Montoya (female bantamweight prospect from New Mexico) "Pacquiao won hands down! The fight was good, I wish Pacquiao was a little more active. Bradley has a ton of heart and I respect him so much more for putting up a fight and giving it everything that he had. But skill-wise, I don't think they were anywhere near the same level. The decision was an absolute disgrace! It was a disgrace to the fighters, to the judges and to boxing itself. Anyone with two eyes could see who the winner of that fight was, and it certainly wasn't Bradley. I wouldn't have even called it a close fight. Pac-Man outclassed him in so many ways. I probably would've scored it 118-110 for Pacquiao."

Mike Weaver (former WBA heavyweight champion) "Before the fight, I had a few people text me, asking my opinion about fight. I said there's not going to be a 3rd or 4th round knockout like so many people believe. It's going to be a hard close fight I told people and if Pacquiao is just a little less than what he was his last fight he going to lose. I thought the decision went to the right person. My scoring was Bradley 5, Pacquiao 3, with 4 rounds going either way."

Reggie Johnson (former WBA middleweight and IBF light heavyweight champion) "The Pacman was KO'd by his own promoter. Like most attorneys, promoters do what is in the best interest of themselves and their Law Firms. It reminded me of my first World Title fight with James Toney on ABC. I know in my heart that I beat James Toney and I know that James knows this as well. When I watched the fight, who do I see leaning over talking to the one of the judges? Bob Arum, who was Toney's promoter. The Pacman won the fight hands down in the eyes of the people and I'm one of those people. I had Pacquiao winning by three rounds."

Caleb Truax (Minnesota state middleweight champion) "Pacquiao-Bradley was a decent fight. Both men came to win and there was some good action and exchanges. The decision was embarrassing! Every friend I have who is just a casual fan is coming to me for answers and I don't have any! All I can say is boxing shit the bed on its biggest stage. It was clear that Pacquiao won. He was the aggressor/ring general, and he landed more cleaner and harder punches. Pacquiao was not effected by Bradley's punches to the same degree Bradley was by Pacquiao's. Bradley was simply outclassed by a better fighter. I had it scored 9-3 for Pacquiao and that's only because Pacquiao let off the gas in rounds 10-12."

Shelito Vincent (female bantamweight prospect from Rhode Island) "I thought PAC came in an controlled the whole fight. So convincingly that at the end of 12, I got up an walked out because I knew PAC took that. Then I got all the "can you believe that?" texts. That was one of the most blatant robberies I've seen in a while. It's pitiful and a disgrace to the sport. Whatever the situation, just a bad look for boxing. That's why our ratings are dropping and why we're losing our crowd to MMA. We were ALL using our EYES that night right? I had PAC winning all but two rounds. There has to be something done as a whole to help save our sport. This was shameful." 

Results: 7-1 for Manny Pacquiao

Who really won and how did YOU score the fight?

Baby Doll Montoya photo credit Jose Leon Castillo

June 7, 2012

Why I LOVE the International Boxing Hall of Fame

I'm giddy with excitement. Today is like the day before Christmas for me. I hope I can get to sleep tonight!

That's because tomorrow morning I make my pugilistic pilgrimage from Boston all the way to Boxing Heaven - the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in Canastota, NY. It's Induction Weekend again and there is no place in the world I'd rather be than Canastota, a quaint little village town located right off the New York Thruway.

Exit 34 to be exact!

Canastota is home to the IBHOF, birth place of Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus - and for die-hard boxing fans like me, it really is like dying and going to Boxing Heaven. And the best part is, you can go every year if your heart desires and your budget allows it! 

This year's induction class is headlined by Thomas "Hitman" Hearns, Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, Al Bernstein, Freddie Roach, Michael Buffer, and Michael Katz. What a great thrill it will be to see these men bask in the adulation of their friends, fans, rivals, and peers. There is no greater honor in boxing than induction into the Boxing Hall of Fame and each and every inductee (past and present) is deserving in their own special way.

But what is it about the IBHOF that I truly love?

At the IBHOF, people are incredibly polite, respectful, and knowledgeable when it comes to boxing. That is something I appreciate and cherish. At the IBHOF, fighters mingle with fans and usually sign autographs quite willingly. You can see that the fighters enjoy these interactions as much, if not more than the fans who idolize them. It's truly an amazing dynamic and one that I'm lucky to have been a part of in 1997, 2003, 2011 and now again in 2012. 

I love the fact that I get to see my friends and colleagues in the boxing community. It's like a wonderful family reunion among friends - and speaking of friends, I am absolutely certain that I'll make many new friends this weekend and that's another one of the great things about boxing and the IBHOF in particular, just how easy it is to make friends in that wonderful fistic fraternity of fans, fighters, and fellow writers.

I love the IBHOF because it's the last place on Earth that truly takes me back to my early years of extreme boxing fandom (the 80's and 90's) and makes me feel like I'm still living in those days. From the memorabilia show on Saturday afternoon to the VIP Cocktail reception on Saturday night, all the way to the Banquet of Champions, and then through to the Induction Ceremony on Sunday - being at the IBHOF for Induction Weekend is like walking through a dream in the nostalgia capital of MY world! 

It's like dying and going to Boxing Heaven.

That's why I LOVE the International Boxing Hall of Fame!

KO Digest Editor in Chief Jeffrey Freeman at the IBHOF