As soon as the Pacquiao vs. Bradley results were announced, a state of shock set in with the audience at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as with fans watching across the globe. A Split Decision verdict was awarded to Timothy Bradley, with the scorecards reading 115-113 in his favor twice, against 115-113 for Manny Pacquiao from the third judge.
While watching the fight live, I unofficially scored the fight 117-111 in favor of Manny Pacquiao. I thought he clearly deserved to win, and given his stature in the sport, didn't think the scorecards possibly could have come up differently.
Even if I had been more generous to Bradley, I could have awarded another round or two to him on my card, and Pacquiao still would have won by a 115-113, or 7 rounds to 5 rounds margin. But I just don't see how Bradley could have won 7 rounds in the match.
Pacquiao was the busier fighter and he landed more shots. Further, the shots which he did land did more damage, as he clearly staggered Bradley on several occasions. He seemed to be in control of the fight, and was dictating where and how it was taking place. This was so much the case that he appeared to coast for a few rounds - a mistake in hindsight, but something which appeared to be a comfortable, risk-free choice at the time.
Bradley was certainly game, and proved any remaining critics wrong. He displayed a fantastic chin, and true heart and grit, along with unending warrior instincts. He also did some great body work in the fight. That said, none of that should have been enough for him to get the verdict.
With the win, Bradley unseats one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, takes home his title belt, and retains his undefeated record with by far the biggest win and biggest moment of his career.
He now controls his own destiny as well. A rematch with Pacquiao - one which he predicted and promoted before this first fight ever even took place - will now be likely for November. Potential other major fights include dates with Floyd Mayweather or Amir Khan. But after this win, he certainly gets to call the shots.
The sad thing is that the Pacquiao vs. Bradley results are not even the most controversial of the year thus far. There are at least two other fights - Brandon Rios vs. Richard Abril and Tavoris Cloud vs. Gabriel Campillo - which produced even worse verdicts than this. But that just goes to show you how bad things have gotten in boxing these days.
Sources: HBO PPV; ProBoxing-Fans.com round by round blog
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.