MANILA, Philippines – Boxing’s super middleweight king Andre Ward believes unbeaten American fighter Timothy Bradley Jr. should admit that he lost his high-profile bout to Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao last Saturday in Las Vegas.
Bradley, a massive underdog, shocked the boxing world when he was awarded a split decision victory and became the new World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion.
But the result was highly controversial, as Pacquiao completely dominated Bradley throughout the 12-round encounter, while the American was unable to do much damage.
Ward, the 2011 Fighter of the Year, said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that he felt the result was “ridiculous.”
“Bradley lost the majority of the rounds. If it was me personally, I would admit defeat and say, ‘Here’s your belt back,’” Ward said.
The undefeated Ward, with 25 wins, said returning the WBO strap to Pacquiao would be the “right thing to do” for Bradley.
“It’s a tough situation, but you gotta make a stand and that will help make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. He won’t lose any stock. In fact, his reputation would be enhanced,” Ward said.
“It would help us put the reins on this wild wild West situation that boxing has become,” he added.
After the fight, Ward tweeted that Bradley was his friend, but it was clear that he lost.
“Listen, I love Tim Bradley, he’s a friend. This is not his fault. Tim lost the fight, that’s all I can say,” he tweeted at the time.
Bradley himself seemed somewhat unconvinced of his victory, saying in the ringside interview that he will have to “watch the tape” to see if he really won.
But he has since grown more confident, telling RingTV that he won “fair and square.”
For Ward, however, re-watching the tape will only prove what happened – that Bradley clearly lost to Pacquiao.
“There was nothing there, nothing to suggest that it was even close. If you were being generous, extremely generous, maybe you could give Tim four rounds, and he loses 8-4,” Ward said.
“I love Tim, he is a friend of mine, but he has to know that he lost that fight,” he added.
Most of the boxing media at ringside had Pacquiao winning by a comfortable margin. Only one judge – Jerry Roth – scored the fight for Pacquiao, however, with CJ Ross and Duane Ford both giving it to Bradley.
Hurts the sport
For Ward, the controversial decision will have a far greater impact: he believes that the negative response to the result is hurting their sport.
Indeed, in the minutes after the result of the fight was announced, angry boxing fans flooded Twitter and Facebook with negative comments, with many claiming that they will stop watching boxing altogether. “#RIPBoxing” even became a worldwide trending topic.
“I have dedicated my life to this sport, and what happened Saturday is unacceptable. And it’s going to continue to happen until there is a commission that starts to impose sanctions,” Ward said.
“There have to be investigations and punishments,” he added.
Ward said boxing was “doing great again” after the entertaining bout between unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto last May 5 in Las Vegas, which Mayweather won via unanimous decision.
“But one situation like this, and we’re back on life support. It hurts the sport’s credibilit, it hurts the pay-per-view numbers,” Ward said.
The Attorney General of Nevada is currently investigating the circumstances of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight upon the request of Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum.
Meanwhile, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will also review the tape of the fight, along with the three judges.