Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley: Did Biased Announcers Shape Public Perception?

| by Alex Groberman

Timothy Bradley’s controversial split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao was met with near universal contempt. In the days following that much-maligned end result, we had everyone from fans to WBO officials to promoters to analysts disputing not only the validity of Bradley’s win, but the entire process by which wins and losses are judged in boxing.

It was a not-so-interesting showdown that brought about an interesting outcome that forced people to ask some very interesting questions.

Now that we’re two weeks removed from that fight, however, some have taken to wondering why the public outcry ended up being as loud as it was. Was it a byproduct of fans watching the match and coming to a certain conclusion based on what they saw, or was the perception of what happened influenced by a biased announcing team that -- perhaps subconsciously -- was rooting for one of the fighters?

Last week, a concerned fan going by the alias “Precise Puncher” on Youtube, posted a video in which he reviews how the fight between Pacquiao and Bradley actually went as opposed to how the announcers called it for the folks sitting at home.

Check it out:

After the bout ended -- while some people admittedly may have disagreed on whether it was blowout or not -- the fact that Pacquiao should have won wasn’t really the subject of debate. And the stats explain why. According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 253 of his 751 punches, Bradley landed 159 of his 839 punches. Pacquiao landed 190 power punches, Bradley landed 108 power punches. Pacquiao landed more punches than Bradley in 10 rounds, Bradley landed more punches than Pacquiao in two rounds.

All of which means that, even if you don’t go by the eye test of who won this thing, the numbers still back up the notion that Pacquiao at least did better statistically. It’s also worth pointing out at this point that the person who put that video together also had Bradley losing – to them this is just a matter of principle. They felt like the announcing team wound up doing a disservice to the audience who was counting on them to call a fair fight.

Which, going by the tape, appears to be a valid concern.

The most obvious question here is isn’t whether a biased announcing team can shape public perception (because, obviously, it can and does), it’s what we should take away from that video. Everyone will obviously have their own opinions, but we feel Stephen Douglas from The Big Lead really said it best:

I’m pretty sure you could do this with any fight. You’re isolating a 5-10 second clip from a three-minute round and slowing it down. I’m guessing there were some moments where Bradley got credit for landing punches that he didn’t. At full speed, it’s almost impossible to see what lands cleanly, what glances and what completely misses. Boxing takes place in a tiny space at a breakneck speed. In real-time, it’s almost impossible to call it well.

At the end of the day, yes – the announcing team did blow some calls on that video. And yes, they probably leaned more towards Pacquiao than Bradley because they expected Pacquiao to be better than Bradley from the outset.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Pacquiao should have won the match (which the tape-makers don’t dispute).

Whether you feel that victory should have come by an inch or by a mile doesn’t really matter; the fact that Pacquiao didn’t win is, in itself, grounds enough for the enormous public outcry – regardless of what the announcing team did or didn’t do.

(Kudos The Big Lead)

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Photo: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II Poster Made 2 Weeks Before 1st Fight