Unbeaten Bradley defeats eight-time champion Pacquiao with a controversial decision, taking the WBO welterweight title and throwing boxing's mega-fight further up in the air.
Timothy Bradley lands a right to the head of Manny Pacquiao during the first round. (Chris Carlson / Associated Press / June 9, 2012)
By Lance Pugmire
June 9, 2012, 11:30 p.m.
In a stunning slight to punch statistics — and the naked eyes of most everyone else — two Nevada judges Saturday scored that Timothy Bradley upset Manny Pacquiao.
Judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford gave Bradley a 115-113 edge in the WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena, while judge Jerry Roth scored the bout 115-113 for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, who relied on his power and speed to repeatedly back up Bradley while fighting with an obvious sense that Bradley could not hurt him, said he will invoke his right for a rematch in November.
That probably further delays a Pacquiao showdown withFloyd Mayweather Jr.until at least 2013.
Asked whether he beat Bradley, Pacquiao said in the ring, "No doubt."
Boos among the 14,206 in attendance cascaded in the arena upon the announcement of the scores, and veteran fight observers were left to reach back nearly 20 years for a more stunning decision.
Palm Springs' Bradley said although he was pained by a twisted left ankle in the second round that bothered him until the sixth, he believed he rallied to win the fight.
Despite a 158-80 lead by Pacquiao on connected punches after seven rounds, Ross and Ford each awarded Bradley five of the final six rounds even though Pacquiao backed Bradley to the ropes in both the eighth and ninth rounds, and was tapping mitts urging the new champion to "Come on" and fight. Bradley appeared reduced to jabbing in the 11th round.
"Manny hurt me a few times with his left hand. He's a beast," Bradley said. "But my corner told me if I won the last round, I'd win the fight.
"I've got to give Manny a rematch."
Bradley was jarred often by Pacquiao — in the third round by a hard left, he reeled and wobbled off the ropes from a hard left hand and combination in the fourth, and hammered at a neutral corner post in the sixth.
"Unbelievable," fight promoter Bob Arum told reporters afterward. "I had it 10-2," for Pacquiao, adding that Bradley's manager, Cameron Dunkin, told him ringside he scored the fight 8-4 for the Filipino superstar.
In November, Pacquiao won a controversial decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.
"This is nuts," Arum said. "People don't know what they're watching anymore. I'm going to make a lot of money [in a rematch] but who's going to take this sport seriously?"
Pacquiao shook his head in amazement to reporters, and made a prayer sign.
"He never hurt me with his punches," Pacquiao said. "I did my best. I guess my best wasn't good enough. Most of his punches hit my arm. I don't know what happened."
CompuBox showed Pacquiao connected on 253 punches to Bradley's 159, with a 63-51 advantage in jabs and 190-108 in power punches.
Many reporters at ringside unofficially scored the bout for Pacquiao in the 9-3 to 11-1 range.
In keeping with an odd pre-fight atmosphere around Pacquiao, the fighters' entry was delayed more than 45 minutes while Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach declared he briefly couldn't find his fighter.
Pacquiao was later located in an adjoining room, stretching his calves on a treadmill. The calves gave him problems in disappointing decision victories over Marquez and Shane Mosley in his two most recent fights.
But Pacquiao has spoken of flipping a switch to convert to fight mode. The "on" button was the savage look he greeted Bradley with before the opening bell, and the remaining rounds seemed to assure the same old Pacquiao existed.
If you asked Pacquiao, it was just the judges who seemingly turned off.