boxing and trust


Bradley over Pacquiao will go down as one of the most wrong decisions in boxing history. Watching the fight replay its purely evident. Even then, it’s still a decision and unless some concrete proof or compelling evidence of corruption of the two pro Bradley judges arises, it’s still final. It makes Pacquiao a 4 time loser overall and one time loser at his current Welterweight Weight class.

Speculation has risen around various conspiracy theories:

  • 2 incompetent Judges wth awful Scorin’: This default, best case scenario, has been dismissed out of hand without actually being ruled out.
  • Top Rank Fixin’: The Promoter (aka landlord) for Pacquiao and Bradley (Bob Arum of Top Rank) had rigged the pro-Bradley judges to engineer an all Top Rank rematch (Bradley vs. Pacquiao II) before Pacquiao is free to leave his contract from Top Rank and become an independent self promoting boxer like Floyd Mayweather.
  • Big Dirty Money Fixin’: The other theory, organized illegal betting interests, (shady guys in bad suits, shady guys in nice suits, etc.) paid off the judges to generate a Bradley/Pacquiao II and create a huge payday for bettors who took the long shot Bradley over Pacquiao.
  • Supplemental theories: Pacquiao Juicin’ /Arum Pay Day Loanin’ – Pacman got caught with blood type Balco and would get exposed if he causes a ruckus. Pacquiao has also been taking 7 figure advances from Bob Arum against his fights, so even if he was upset, he has to take the decision as it is. He’s in the hole.

Even my framing here is wrong: these above schemes aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. Two judges would have to be as incompetent as they were crooked to believe they could fix a fight in such a manner (literally giving Bradley a near blowout) and go unnoticed. A promoter could absolutely work with a permanent or impromptu crime conspiracy to fix a fight and move the money line for a big pay day.

Here is a ringside recap of the decision by Rafe Bartholomew that intimates that the source of the corruption is with the “wink and a nod” acceptance of the awful business structure of boxing:

“I’ve never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight,” were the first words out of Arum’s mouth. He defused the anger in the room by calling the Bradley decision one of the worst he’s ever seen, comparing it to other controversial decisions like Pacquiao-Marquez III. Arum said that this result was far worse — “unfathomable” — and admitted that as angry as he was in the moment, he stood to “make a lot of money off the rematch.” He mixed righteous indignation and candid talk about business with a Yiddish-peppered rant about how old, incompetent judges make everyone feel like schmucks, “and nobody likes to feel like a schmuck.” The room was laughing at his sarcasm, even though moments before, many of the people who were now enjoying Arum’s irascible charm had been kvetching about how he must have masterminded the entire debacle. And that’s really the beauty of Bob Arum, the man who famously once told reporters, “Yesterday I was lying; today I’m telling the truth.” Twice a year, it seems like Arum is involved with something that makes everyone who cares about boxing feel like a schmuck, and every single schmuck among us just keeps coming back for more.

Tails? Arum wins, Heads? Bob wins!

This is a sport where the Promoter can build exclusive pay days by “signing” aka being the landlord of two fighters. Imagine an NFL where say New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft owns the Patriots and the New York Giants and complaining that the Pats lost the Super Bowl while being a primary benefactor of both team’s appearance in the game. Arum has requested an investigation from the Nevada Attorney General, but this doesn’t mean anything. A diligent Attorney General will only investigate things where evidence of some criminal wrong doing exists. A fight decision that can be explained by incompetence shouldn’t even spend a minute on an AG’s desk. He’s grandstanding. A law firm is investigating the fight, probably with the goal of opening a class action suit against Top Rank, Bob Arum, the WBO and the Nevada Athletic Commission, outside of that, this is written.

He isn’t the only winner: the MGM and it’s sports books win, the city of Las Vegas wins a lot of income, the Nevada Athletic Commission, HBO PPV and HBO Sports wins. and just because of that and some inept judges (at the least) we assume all the winners here were complicit. We won a bit too. Today everyone is talking about boxing. If you went to Las Vegas on fight night, you probably had a great time. If you had a fight party, everyone at the party had a lively ice breaker. We have new villians: Bob Arum and Old Judges. etc. It’s because this is compelling where otherwise, there was no compelling fight here. The rematch is a matter of sports justice to boxing fanatics everywhere who want to see this corrected and still naively believe a rematch fixes anything.

But all this talk of who had what to gain from this violation of trust is that no one is rushing to implicate “the winner” of the contest. Even though Bradley is the “winner”, and now a WBO champion, no one suspects him of anything. I think that kinda shows everyone truly believes in the end, Bradley is set up to lose.