Disputed fight spurs less fact than fiction


Bob Arum has called for an investigation by the attorney general, and Sen. Harry Reid is endorsing such a move, and the WBO has said it will launch a review, and Timothy Bradley has ice on his ankles, and Manny Pacquiao is probably home in the Philippines handing out money to strangers who wander by his house.

The saga that was the most-ridiculous-split-decision-in-recent-memory plays on, with majority opinions about those who judged it remaining strong in this sense: They got it wrong.

The names Jerry Roth and Duane Ford and CJ Ross have been front and center since Saturday evening, when Bradley was handed a win he didn't earn in a welterweight title fight against Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden.

The three scores of 115-113 - Roth was the one who sided with Pacquiao - have created more questions than answers, affording us a wonderful opportunity to play another version of a wildly popular game.

Fact or Fiction.

Claim: Any investigation into the scoring will prove futile, and Pacquiao will follow through with his rematch against Bradley in November.

Fact.

I don't believe the fight was fixed. I don't believe anyone was on the take.

I believe the three assigned to judge it had forgettable nights at the office and will be surprised to see any of them scoring another major title fight here anytime soon.

Arum is a promoter whose leading fighters also have been handed favorable decisions over the years, with an argument being made for Pacquiao as recently as November against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Time will pass. Negotiations will begin. More millions will be made on the rematch for all parties.

As for Reid, perhaps he should worry about something a tad more serious than Pacquiao-Bradley. Like, well, the more than 400 pink slips being handed teachers across the valley.

Claim: Judges such as Ford (74) and Roth (71) are too old to continue scoring such major fights.

Fiction.

It's not a function of age. It's one of accountability. Judges need more clinics, more film study, more seminars to keep their skills sharp. Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer should be the one ensuring this happens. How can you claim to regulate your sport when you don't consistently regulate those who judge it?

Kizer didn't return a message left on his phone Monday, which I have to believe was due to the fact he was busy explaining to others how those he chose to judge the fight erred in such a blatant regard.

Highly competent judges have made sound scoring decisions into their 80s. Some in their 40s wouldn't know a 10-count from a body punch.

The education of judges never should end, and if Kizer and his commissioners think they're doing enough in this regard, then they all were taking turns on Pacquiao's treadmill Saturday and not watching the fight.

Claim: Ross wasn't experienced enough to judge a fight the level of Pacquiao-Bradley.

Fiction.

You can't judge a second megafight until you score your first one. Every official in the NBA, every umpire in the major leagues, every referee in the NFL has to make his maiden voyage into the big time at some point. Ross has scored fights since 1992 and was a judge on the Canelo Alvarez-Shane Mosley bout here in May.

At some point, she was going to get this shot.

And to those in the Top Rank camp, who since Saturday have questioned Ross' viability and resume to judge the fight: Why, then, didn't your representative stand up and speak out against her when given the opportunity at a commission meeting that made official the three judges for Pacquiao-Bradley? Why did you remain silent if you had such concerns about her experience?

Claim: Boxing should be more transparent in its approach and begin showing scorecards at the end of each round.

Fiction.

Nice idea, in theory. In reality, a disaster.

Who's to say a fighter leading 4-1 after five rounds and who gets cut doesn't have an unscrupulous cornerman who makes that cut a tad deeper, claims his guy can't continue and the fight goes to the scoring cards? Who's to say someone trailing 8-0 in rounds doesn't quit?

Open scoring would do far more harm than good.

Claim: When told of the fight's outcome in his cell at the Clark County Detention Center, Floyd Mayweather Jr. cracked a large smile, somehow pulled himself off his cot in such an emaciated state that two weeks in jail reportedly has left him, threw caution to the wind and took a big gulp of tap water.

Fact.

Well, at least the part about smiling.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on "Gridlock," ESPN 1100 and 98.9 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @edgraney.

wbo committee to review disputed judges' decision
One of boxing's major sanctioning bodies will review Timothy Bradley's controversial split decision over Manny Pacquiao, the first step toward what promoter Bob Arum hopes will be "clarity" in the judging of the fight.
WBO president Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel said in a statement Wednesday that the WBO's championship committee will review video of the fight with five "recognized international judges" and make a recommendation. He said the WBO does not doubt the ability of the scoring judges.
Most reporters seated ringside and the vast majority of fans inside the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday night thought Pacquiao had easily retained his welterweight title against Bradley.
The first surprise came when ring announcer Michael Buffer announced that there was a split decision, and the biggest surprise came in the reading of the judges' scores. Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Pacquiao, while Duane Ford and CJ Ross had it for Bradley by the same score.
The Associated Press scored the fight 117-111 for Pacquiao.
"The public saw the fight, and they're outraged, and we need clarity here," Arum said Wednesday. "We need those responsible to investigate, to see what happened, how the judges could be so off.
"Was there any funny business going on? Or no funny business? Did they have a conversation with each other? We need to get clarity. The public is demanding it."
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
 

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