Monday, June 11, 2012

Pacquiao versus Bradley: The Aftermath

I was on my way home few hours ago. It was a different kind of Monday in Manila.

This was a different feeling for every Filipino. One day ago, we have all witnessed something surreal - Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, after 15 straight wins and more than five decades of dominance and destruction, fell into defeat at the hands of up-and-coming, fast-rising star Timothy Bradley, Jr. The next day, and even as early as the fight ended, almost everyone in the world voiced out their opinions. From top celebrities to politicians to bystanders, everyone wanted to be heard on who really won the fight.

I wasn't really that much keen on the fight itself. My friends watched it while I was busy with FFXII. Everyone were up in arms as soon as the winner was announced. My friends were flabbergasted. They saw their Boston Celtics in defeat to the Miami Heat, and Pacquiao's loss to Bradley was just the dagger. It was so hard to fathom for my friends that lunch became a heavy feeling of loss, instead of the usual happy banter. I can say that I did not care much on the outcome; I am, and I'm proud to say it, a big MMA fan since day one. I can understand their grief though, and of all the millions of people around the world, not just here. Pacquiao has been one of the most exciting fighters to watch, and has been one of the greatest boxers in this generation, and a controversial loss to a young fighter left a sour taste in everyone's mouth.

I got on the bus, stood for a couple of minutes ago then sat down. Tuned in on the tube, and the news started. As expected, yesterday's fight was the first news. Watched a few clips then dozed off. Few minutes later and it's still on the news! It went on for a good majority of the program. I just hope it won't be the same tomorrow. Then again, this is just testament to what Pacquiao has been for the past years. I think the only way to put this story to an end is to settle the differences once again, in the squared circle.

Pacquiao and Bradley fought to a decision victory by the latter.
I got home and did some reading, and I stumbled into this article about the match. In my opinion this is the best article so far, really calling it in the middle.

You can read the whole article here, and I STRONGLY recommend you to.

Some of his comments that hit a home run are the following:

"...Many want boxing to deliver the black eyes and controversies, but otherwise be gone. They don't want to spend much time anymore on the great stories and happenings that occur in the sport.

To quote boxing writer Coyote Duran on Twitter:

Note to casual fight fans: Don't act like aficionados because you hated tonight's decision. Where were you for Corrales-Castillo I?

Similarly, Jason Abelson from Toronto:

"[Crappy] thing is, everyone is taking a kick at boxing's corpose, but next week we'll get a sweet fight in [Andy Lee-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.], & no one will see it."

There is something so visceral about watching two men fight that it inspires paroxysms of rage when the judges get it wrong. Casual fans are investing and projecting so much into these two or three times per year that they watch the sport on pay-per-view.

Unfortunately, boxing doesn't have a system where the amount you pay to watch gets dispersed throughout the year, like most other sports. So people feel it more acutely when the outcome is unsatisfactory.

So you have a right to be pissed off at the decision. But by God, sports fans, you need to cop to your own hypocrisy a little bit.

Specifically, hardly anyone threatens to turn their back when:

There's bad judging in MMA, suspendable hits aren't called penalties in the NHL, umpires from the same crew that can't agree on a strike zone in MLB, blown replay scenarios occur in the NFL on a weekly basis, star-driven NBA officiating affects outcomes, soccer is rocked by a match-fixing scandal every other year, the Tour de France is rocked by a drug scandal every other year, etc..."

Some of his jabs at Bob Arum and Floyd Mayweather:

"...Bob Arum said on Saturday he was never more ashamed to be a part of boxing. In my 30 years of following boxing, this was probably about the fifth time the innocent naif Arum has said that.

He also said he could make a "ton of money" with a Bradley rematch. Literally speaking perhaps, but he can make a "ton of money" for Pacquiao vs. Anyone. A rematch with Bradley is less lucrative for Pacquiao than a few other options..."

"...The assumption is that Mayweather will come out jail laughing his ass off over Pacquiao losing.

Maybe. But there's real P.R. points to be made here for Mayweather if he comes out and says Pacquiao got handed a bogus loss, but he wants to show him what a real loss looks like..."

My take on the whole Pacquiao - Bradley brouhaha:

1. If Pacquiao won (in any way), there wouldn't be things to talk about now, speculations to be made, etc. I am rooting for Pacquiao but a win from him may make boxing a bit redundant. People want change, and even resist it, but eventually live by it. In short, boxing became a bit interesting with that loss. With a win, people will just say "it's expected" and move on.

2. Perhaps a Pacquiao loss may lure Mayweather.

3. It's a bit weird to see a religion-devoted man to go into a fighting sport. I mean, does it mix? (If ever you know some athlete who's into great spiritual devotion with a profession of knocking people out then please write it in the comments section, I'd appreciate it.). Maybe he was hesitant to go all-out in front of his children?

4. The real winner, and STIILLL, champion of the boxing world - Bob Arum.

5. Like point 1, there's a saying that controversy creates cash. Don't believe it? Check out the celebrities in Hollywood. There's such a thing as bad publicity, and as they say "good or bad publicity is still publicity." Everyone is waiting for Pacquiao to set the rematch in stone, and they are more interested in what he will do. Remember Pacquiao - Morales 2?

6. Pacquiao, gracious even in defeat. A true world-class fighter, and world-class class act.

As ending to this, I would like to say this: coming from a diehard MMA fan, all I can is...

Boxing is not dead, it just got interesting.

Comments below!

doghouseboxing for the great picture.
CBC Sports' Chris Iorfida for that well-written article.

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