Manny Pacquiao is a declining force
As is all too often the case in boxing, when the judges decide the winner everyone loses, writes Marvin France.
No matter how dominant a performance may have looked, you’re playing Russian roulette whenever you tempt fate with the three blind mice at ringside.
We don’t need to sift through the entire history of the sport to figure that one out, just a few of the most recent high-profile fights.
Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez - controversial decision. Amir Khan v Lamont Peterson - controversial decision. Pacquiao v Timothy Bradley - not so much controversial as in just plain wrong.
Pacquiao was robbed, there’s no disputing that. At best the judges’ decision was pure incompetence, but more likely there was something sinister at play. Who are we kidding, this is boxing.
Yet lost amid the uproar over yesterday’s disgraceful decision is that, once again, the 33-year-old Filipino was shown up as a declining force.
The welterweight champ... sorry ex-champion (still getting my head round that one) looked rejuvenated following his fortunate victory over Marquez last November, which many thought he lost but was still a much closer call than yesterday’s farce.
‘Pacman’ initially dealt a lethal left hook to the critics who thought his new devotion to his faith might have made him less of a fighter. And that weighing in at 147 pounds - the heaviest he’s been in his professional career - was a sign he wasn’t taking Bradley seriously.
He was dominant from the off, pounding Bradley at will with both hands and visibly staggering his opponent on multiple occasions. Trouble is, he only did it for seven, maybe eight, rounds.
Throughout the first half of the fight Pacquiao had the chance to finish Bradley, who was struggling with a badly twisted ankle, at least three times. However, the relentless, uncompromising style that saw him go undefeated in 15 fights over seven years was nowhere to be seen.
From then Pacquiao plateaued as Bradley gathered his senses and switched to the counter-punching tactics that served Marquez so well.
And while not inflicting serious damage, the American finished the stronger of the two in four of the last five rounds and that ultimately swung the result in his favour.
This is by no means a vindication of the judges’ decision, but when the bout reached the championship rounds the champ had left the building.
Where this now leaves the proposed mega-fight with the currently incarcerated Floyd Mayweather is anyone’s guess, although forget about anything in the short-term with Pacquiao now set for a rematch, if not a third showdown, with new WBO welterweight king Bradley.
And if Pacquiao is slowing down now, where will he be in a year’s time? Again, everyone loses.