A veteran fighter like Manny Pacquiao should know better. So should his trainer Freddie Roach.
Never let a match go to the scorecards if you can help it.
In the first Pacquiao-Tim Bradley fight, Bradley prevailed in what was considered by most boxing fans and media members a controversial decision (115-113, 115-113, 113-115).
Throughout the sport’s history there has been controversial scoring, and it will always be a part of things as long as the human element remains.
Roach explained, in part, why Bradley (31-0) was able to secure a decision over Pacquiao (55-5-3).
“The thing was it was so easy for Manny in the early rounds that in the later rounds he wasn’t throwing combinations like he usually does. He was just throwing single punches and kind of going through the motions,” Roach explained. “He thought we was very much ahead, of course, but we needed to be fighting aggressive three minutes of every round and if we fight at a fast pace like that we’ll be able to stop Bradley somewhere during the middle rounds along the way.”
Pacquiao’s lack of aggression cost him dearly.
That isn’t the first time we have seen this. Oscar De La Hoya suffered the same fate in his fight against Felix Trinidad on Sept. 18, 1999. De La Hoya, thinking he was far enough ahead on the scorecards, took it easy the last four rounds and lost a split decision (113-115, 114-115, 114-114).
De La Hoya said he put on a “boxing lesson” after the fight. The lesson instead was put on him.
Pacquiao has been relatively quiet when it comes to the judging of the first bout. In fact, he has gone out of his way not to be critical.
“I’m not angry after the decision. The officials did their best and no one is perfect in this world and sometimes they make mistakes. It’s part of boxing,” Pacquiao said. “I wasn’t really bothered about it after the fight. When I went home, most of the people were not negative – they were positive about the fight – most of them thought I won the fight.”
As for their tilt scheduled for April 12 on HBO pay-per-view at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao and Roach both contend that they will not be looking for a knockout. As noble as that may sound, nothing should be left to the judges.
“We are focusing on being more aggressive and throwing a lot of punches - and if the knockout comes, it comes,” Pacquiao said. “I just want to prove that I can have the hunger that it takes to get the job done.”
It's worth noting that C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, who judged the first fight in favor of Bradley, are no longer judges, according to Top Rank boss Bob Arum.
A lot could be riding on this fight. The winner will surely be considered the No. 2 welterweight in the world behind Floyd Mayweather Jr., who will take on Marcos Maidana on May 3.
Assuming Mayweather wins, could the door for a September bout against either Bradley or Pacquiao be in the cards? You never know these days.