|Timothy Bradley Jr. (L) of the U.S. exchanges blows with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada June 10, 2012 (Manila time). REUTERS/Steve Marcus
MANILA, Philippines – Former world welterweight champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao of the Philippines asked his supporters not to be discouraged about the sport after his shocking loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).
Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Organization welterweight champion after Bradley took home a highly controversial split decision with scores of 113-115, 115-113 and 115-113.
“Don’t be discouraged about boxing. There’s always next time,” Pacquiao told reporters in the post-fight press conference.
Reactions to Pacquiao’s loss were swift and brutal, with many boxing fans expressing their disgust over the decision and claiming they will not watch boxing again.
Within minutes of the fight’s result, #RIPBoxing became a worldwide trending topic as fans on Twitter slammed the decision.
“So I take it Manny Pacquiao got robbed. #RIPBoxing,” tweeted actress Elizabeth Banks.
Boxing analysts at ringside were also stunned with the result, with many of them tweeting that they had Pacquiao winning the bout.
“I don’t even know what to say,” ESPN’s Dan Rafael tweeted after the decision was announced.
“I had Manny winning 115-113,” said Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.
Pacquiao said in the post-fight press conference that he “100% believes” he won the fight, but emphasized that he respected the judges’ decision.
“We have to respect my opponent also. Give credit to him. The fans, in your heart you kow who won the fight, but it’s okay,” Pacquiao said.
Rafael gave Pacquiao credit for acting “classy,” despite what he called a “putrid decision.”
“Manny showing class even though 99 percent on the people think he cleary won,” Rafael tweeted.
Local and international celebrities, as well as many athletes, have also expressed their disgust and disappointment over the result of the bout.
The image of boxing has taken a hit after several high-profile matches ended in controversy, including Pacquiao's majority decision win against his great rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, in November 2011.