In trying to understand the inexplicable split decision win for Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao last night the phrase "follow the money" keeps jumping into my head. I'm not scholar enough to know if that quote comes from Vladimir Lenin or Woodward and Bernstein, but I do know that where ever something fishy is going on involving millions of dollars that somebody is probably up to something and the most suspicious somebody is the one who stands to make the most money.
In the case of Pacquiao vs Bradley, that someone is Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who handles both fighters. Word is that Arum was likely to lose Pacquiao in 2013 but a Bradley win triggers a contractually mandated rematch that Arum will promote.
Arum talked to ESPN after the fight, was he crying crocodile tears?
"I've never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight.
"I'll make a lot of money off the rematch, but this was outrageous," he said.
Here's what Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook has to say:
Well, here's the deal. Arum says he's concerned about the credibility of the sport, but whatever. The sport's credibility has probably been in the crapper for long enough at this point that it probably is more akin to a long-term floater than a fresh turd in the bowl.
Also, Arum not only doesn't have to hear "Mayweather-Pacquiao" again for the rest of 2012, but he doesn't have to deal with that damned Juan Manuel Marquez and his demands and ego, either. He's got another Top Rank vs Top Rank fight for November. I'm not accusing him of anything. I'm saying as a promoter, he can't really be that unhappy with what's going down here. There's a lot of potential upside if they figure out the right approach.
ESPN's Teddy Atlas has the most in-depth and outrageous take on Arum's potential malfeasance, we'll hear from him after the jump.
From the video of Teddy Atlas laying out his theories (thanks to Bad Left Hook for transcribing):
"I'm not sure if it's accurate that Pacquiao was about to leave one of the kingpins of the sport, Bob Arum. His contract was running out. But I think it was. And when that happens, sometimes funny things happen. But the bottom line is, if you're an honest man, if you're a competent person that knows what he's watching, Pacquiao won that fight. Only one man won that fight. And, you know, he doesn't get the decision. It's an injustice to the sport, injustice to the fighters, injustice to the fanbase. It's one of the fallacies. It's one of the problems with the sport of boxing right now is that the wrong guy wins sometimes."
"I think I touched on it a moment ago, the possibility that he might not be signing up with the power broker, Bob Arum. I mean, look, the worst thing you can say about the sport is it's either corruption or incompetence. If it's incompetence, that should be corrected. That the judges that control the destiny of these fighters, fighters that leave a part of themselves in the ring quite often when they leave the ring, like Frazier and Ali did in those great, epic fights. There's less of themselves when they leave that ring. That's a great responsibility, to make sure you get it right as judges. And a lot of times, unfortunately, the judges, they just don't get it right. They don't know what they're watching. In this case again, they don't know what they're watching, at the very best. Which is a sad thing to say, that at the best they didn't know what they were watching, and at the worst they were influenced by other outside forces."
I should note that not every outside observer thought it was a clear win for Pacquiao. Norm Frauenheim of the New York Times summed up the fight like this:
Bradley overcame Pacquiao's advantage in speed over the first six rounds with head-rocking power that eventually left Pacquiao, a Filipino congressman, looking tired and slow.