MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach was proud of his prized ward, eight-division champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao of the Philippines, for his performance against unbeaten American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. last Saturday in Las Vegas.
This, even as Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt when Bradley was announced the winner via split decision in one of the most stunning upsets of the year.
In the post-fight press conference, Roach said he believed Pacquiao won the fight, a sentiment echoed by boxing writers and fight fans worldwide.
“I’m very proud of Manny. I thought he fought a very good fight. I thought that was one of the best fights since the (Miguel) Cotto fight,” Roach said.
Pacquiao defeated Cotto via a 12th round technical knockout when they fought in 2009.
He was unable to knockout or even knockdown Bradley, but Pacquiao still wobbled the American boxer numerous times with crushing left straights, and shook off Bradley’s punches easily throughout the bout.
“I told him he gave the 11th round away. Bradley was very tough and very durable. I thought we clearly, clearly won the fight,” Roach said.
Roach said he was surprised when he the first judge, Jerry Roth, gave the bout to Pacquiao with a score of 115-113, as he felt that it was little close.
“It wasn’t a good start. It wasn’t as bad as the other two,” said Roach, referring to the scorecards of CJ Ross and Duane Ford, who both scored the match 115-113 in Bradley’s favor.
Roach now wonders if the split decision was a sort-of “make-up call” for Pacquiao’s controversial majority decision win over rival Juan Manuel Marquez last November – a bout many felt he lost.
“I’m not sure if our last fight had something to do with it, because our last fight was a very close fight and a little controversial. Did they hold that against us? I’m not sure,” he said.
But the five-time Trainer of the Year is still displeased with the judges, saying, “I think they had their eyes closed.”
“Something wasn’t right. Because what everyone else saw and what they saw were two different things,” Roach added.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum has announced that he will have the fight investigated by the Attorney-General of Nevada before considering a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch.