MANILA, Philippines – The Nevada State Attorney General (AG) has ruled that no criminal violation occurred in the controversial bout between Filipino fight king Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr., according to a report from RingTV.
"After conducting an initial investigation, there do not appear to be any facts or evidence to indicate that a criminal violation occurred," wrote Nevada AG Catherine Cortez Masto in a letter addressed to Top Rank Promotions chief executive Bob Arum.
Last June 9, Bradley was announced the winner via split decision over Pacquiao, despite being outlanded and outpunched through most of the 12 rounds.
The result was extremely unpopular among boxing fans, and the ensuing controversy led to a review by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and the Nevada State Athletic Committee (NSAC).
Arum asked the Nevada AG to investigate the circumstances surrounding the scoring of the fight. Two judges scored it 115-113 for Bradley, while another scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao. Most of the boxing media at ringside had Pacquiao winning by a wide margin.
"As of this date, no one has presented any facts or evidence to indicate a crime has been committed by anyone involved in the Bradley/Pacquiao fight," Masto said.
The Attorney-General noted that "displeasure with the subjective decisions of sporting officials is not a sufficient basis for this office to initiate a criminal investigation."
"While there may be strong disagreement with the decision, the exercise of professional judgment by individuals officiating at a sporting event is not by itself a criminal violation," Masto wrote.
Interviewed referee, NSAC director
According to documents obtained by RingTV, Masto did not interview any of the three judges involved during the bout, but did talk to referee Robert Byrd.
"Byrd stated the only thing that was unusual was that Pacquiao was late to the pre-bout rules meeting between the referee and the fighters," Masto wrote.
"Byrd stated the Bradley/Pacquiao fight was a very competitive and close fight... Byrd stated there was nothing which would lead him to believe this was not a legitimate fight. Byrd said he was not aware of any collusion or conspiracies, and also was not aware of any inappropriateness by anyone involved in the production of this welterweight fight," she added.
Masto also interviewed NSAC director Keith Kizer, who informed her that "the judges and referee for the Bradley/Pacquiao fight were selected pursuant to the established process during a public hearing, and there were no objections to their selection."
"Director Kizer stated the judges for the Bradley/Pacquiao fight were properly licensed... Director Kizer stated the Nevada Athletic Commission has received no evidece the established procedure for scoring were not followed in the Bradley/Pacquiao fight," she added.
The WBO conducted its own review of the Pacquiao-Bradley bout, convening five international judges to re-score the fight.
All five judges gave the bout to Pacquiao, with scores of 117-111, 117-111, 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113.
The WBO will not overturn the result, however, and Bradley remains the WBO welterweight champion.
In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Bradley's manager, Cameron Dunkin, said he was not surprised by the result of the investigation.
"Nothing did happen, not funny business at all, and I'm not suprised that’s what (Masto) found. I expected this," Dunkin said.
Arum, for his part, said he was happy that the Nevada AG found no evidence of illegal activity, but noted that not interviewing the three judges was a mistake.
"Obviously, it would have been far more thorough had they interviewed the judges," Arum said.
Masto wrote in her letter to Arum that "unless evidence beyond mere displeasure is forthcoming, this matter will be considered closed."