MANILA, Philippines – Boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz is convinced that Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao was robbed of victory against American fighter Timothy Bradley Jr. last Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).
Pacquiao outlanded and outpunched Bradley throughout their 12-round encounter for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
|Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines stands on the ropes in his corner following his loss of the WBO welterweight championship to Timothy Bradley Jr. of the U.S. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada June 9, 2012. Photo by R. Marsh Starks, Reuters.
Despite this, Bradley was awarded a split decision victory with scores of 113-115, 115-113, and 115-113 -- a result that was resoundly booed by the 14,000-strong MGM crowd as well as by various celebrities and athletes on Twitter.
In an interview on ANC's "Headstart," Nathanielsz emphasized that Pacquiao was "robbed," but said he admired the way the boxer handled his defeat.
"He showed so much class in accepting the defeat and telling his mother to accept it, and telling all of us to accept it," Nathanielsz said.
Even so, the analyst said there was no way that Bradley won the fight fair and square.
"Manny won by a mile, and it wasn't even close," he said.
When asked by host Karen Davila if the fight was unlike Pacquiao's previous bout – another controversial victory over rival Juan Manuel Marquez – Nathanielsz emphatically said, "No way."
"We scored it nine rounds to three in favor of Pacquiao. That translates to 117-111, a six-point margin. Now, out of generosity and being nice, because Bradley was nice, we gave him one more round. So it was eight rounds to four," he said.
"No way Bradley even came close to winning this fight," he added.
Nathanielsz said there was no way the two judges – CJ Ross and Duane Ford – could justify scoring the fight in Bradley's favor. Only Jerry Roth scored the fight in Pacquiao's favor.
"If you look at the Compubox stats – it's unofficial, but everybody uses that to justify their decision and justify their position in a fight," Nathanielsz said.
"Pacquiao was way ahead in the number of punches thrown, number of punches connected, number of power punches thrown, number of power punches connected. Malayo pa. Wide margins," he added.
Compubox stats showed that Pacquiao landed 253 of his 751 punches for 34%, and 190 of 493 power punches for 39%.
Bradley landed 159 of his 839 punches or 19%, and 108 of his 390 power punches or 28%.
"So what were the judges watching? What were they looking at? Where they looking at their wallets, pockets or what?" Nathanielsz questioned.
Moreover, Pacquiao nearly knocked down Bradley in the middle rounds, said Nathanielsz.
"(Bradley) got battered. Rounds 4, 5, 6, 7, he almost went down.... Just because you are not knocked down, does it mean that you win the fight?" he said.
Nathanielsz conceded that he gave the final three rounds of the fight to Bradley, after Pacquiao decided to take his foot off the gas pedal.
"(Pacquiao) dominated all the way until round 9," he said. "At his age, with the wear and tear on his body, and he's feeling that he's comfortably ahead, the tendency of a champions of his caliber is to, of course, (to ask), why would I take a risk?"
"I may get caught with a lucky punch. Why would I take a risk? I would just play around with this guy, which is exactly what he did," Nathanielsz said, in explaining Pacquiao’s game plan in the final three rounds.
Even so, Bradley did not even win the final three rounds convincingly, he added.
Nathanielsz feels that it is wise for Pacquiao to agree to a rematch with Bradley, wherein he can win back his world title.
But the analyst said that this time, the Filipino boxer should take matters into his own hands and knock Bradley out.
"He has to. Because if these are the kinds of judges the Nevada State Athletic Commission puts in the fight, the only way to guarantee a win is to knock this guy out," Nathanielsz said.
"I think he can (knock Bradley out). He hurt him several times, although this time, if he wants to KO him... Pacquiao is going to have to take some risks," he added.
But Nathanielsz said that in defeat, Pacquiao’s stature grew in the eyes of many.
"This is the first time he benefited more by losing than by winning," he said. "The whole world is behind him now."
"He has gained so much respect, most especially in the way he accepted the defeat... That was presidential," Nathanielsz added.