The WBO completed its review Wednesday of Timothy Bradley’s controversial split-decision victory against Manny Pacquiao with its five-member international judging panel all scoring the fight for Pacquiao, even though the official result will stand.
Pacquiao told The Associated Press from the Philippines on Thursday that he would prefer a rematch rather than Bradley giving up the WBO welterweight title that he won on a split decision because “people may think I just usurped it.”
Bradley’s victory on June 9 instantly became one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history. While judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross both had Bradley winning 115-113, Jerry Roth scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao, who suffered his first defeat since 2005.
“My supporters shouldn’t worry. We’re going to get that title,” said Pacquiao, who has the option of an immediate rematch with Bradley in his contract.
The HBO broadcasters and nearly every media member at ringside had Pacquiao winning. The crowd at the MGM Grand booed the decision heavily and there was fan outrage around the world from people believing Pacquiao clearly had won.
In the aftermath of the fight, WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, whose organization sanctioned the title match, said he would have five judges review the video of the bout. On Wednesday, the results of that review were released. The five judges, whom Valcarcel said are accomplished judges with world title experience — but whose names were not disclosed — scored the fight for Pacquiao, 118-110, 117-111, 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
Valcarcel said the WBO has no authority to change the result. But given the outcome of the panel’s review of the fight, he will order a rematch if Top Rank promoter Bob Arum declines to put on a second fight, or if Pacquiao opts not to exercise his rematch clause.
Top Rank and Pacquiao, however, simply could move on to another fight that just would not be for the WBO title.
“We can’t change the result but we did this review for two reasons,” Valcarcel told ESPN.com. “If they want to make a rematch, we will approve the rematch and if they don’t, we will order one. Also, we wanted to show (the Nevada State Athletic Commission) that they could bring in other officials from outside of Nevada who can also do a fine job judging fights. It’s good to have different officials.”
Nevada generally selects officials from its own pool of in-state judges.
“We want to work together with Nevada and we think they should be open to other good officials from around the world,” Valcarcel said. “But we are not questioning the honorability of the judges who scored the fight for Bradley. They are honest people. They are good officials, too, but I don’t know what happened.”
Valcarcel, who was ringside for the bout, said he scored it for Pacquiao, “but we have to respect the judges.”
Pacquiao is due to return to the ring on Nov. 10 and after the fight, he said he wanted the rematch. Bradley also said he would like to fight Pacquiao, which would mean even more money than the career-high guarantee of $5 million he received. However, since the fight, Top Rank’s talk of a rematch has cooled.
Arum, who promotes Pacquiao and Bradley but who also was outraged by the decision, was pleased with Valcarcel’s review.
“Paco acted very responsibly,” Arum said. “I think what they did was fine.”
Arum, however, did not address the rematch.
“I’m not talking about it now,” he said.
After the fight, Arum was so disgusted that he called for the Nevada Attorney General to investigate the scoring. Arum told ESPN.com that he met in his Las Vegas office Wednesday with a chief investigator and a deputy from the Nevada Attorney General’s office.
“I think they will look into the whole situation, but I don’t think there is any wrongdoing here and we can go on with our lives,” he said.
Source: Dan Rafael, ESPN