Timothy Bradley’s controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao didn’t come with any of the perks that generally come standard with wins.
Usually, when a fighter wins a bout -- any bout, really -- he is met with praise, commendation a sort of acclaim that had previously been foreign him. If that fighter beats an all-time great en route to his win, that reaction is multiplied tenfold. Yet, despite the magnitude of what happened on June 9, Bradley wasn’t really on the receiving end of any admiration. Quite the opposite, actually; he may have won on paper, but he lost in just about every other possible way.
It was subtraction by addition in the most genuine sense. He added plus one to his wins total, and he subtracted all of the goodwill he had built up over the last few years.
The outpour of negativity is understandable, of course. Folks don’t like undeserved wins. This was doubly bad because, not only did Bradley get an undeserved win, he handed an unmerited defeat to a legend who should have one fewer loss when he retires.
And make no mistake about it – Pacquiao deserves to have one less loss on his record.
We keep harping on the stats from that fight over and over, but only because they paint an accurate picture of what happened. People can have differing opinions on who punches harder (Pacquiao) or who does more damage (Pacquiao), but punch stats are far less subjective. According to CompuBox, in their showdown, Pacquiao landed 253 of his 751 punches whereas Bradley only 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.
Them’s the facts. And those facts are why Bradley has gotten so much flak over the past few weeks – despite the fact that he was the official winner on the eve of June 9.
The question now is: what can Bradley do to change people’s perception of him? What can he do to make fans view him as something more than the beneficiary of one of the worst boxing decisions in recent memory?
Well, a huge win would be a good start. A huge win over Pacquiao or a similarly legitimate opponent might silence his doubters a bit.
Nothing can erase the awfulness of what happened last month. Nothing. But Bradley can take strides to do right by boxing aficionados from here on out.
Will he? We’ll find out soon enough.