When he was interviewed by HBO's Max Kellerman in the ring after his shocking upset win over Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley told Kellerman that he'd have to watch the tape of the fight to see what his opinion was of his win. It wasn't exactly the most assured statement a fighter could make -- that's what Shannon Briggs told Larry Merchant in 1997 when two of three judges in Atlantic City gave him the scorecards against George Foreman, after all.
Bradley says he's reviewed the tape now, and that he feels, despite the overwhelming disagreement of boxing media and fans, that the judges got it right. Here's what he told RingTV.com:
"I won the fight, without a doubt. You could say I won the first round, give or take the second. Lost the third, lost the fourth, lost the fifth, maybe even lost the sixth, you know, give or take. But from seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12, I clearly dominated those rounds, man. I dominated those rounds. I know that I won those rounds.
"I mean, this guy was supposed to stop me. He was supposed to knock me out. But I took his best punches, and I fought back hard. You know what I mean? My corner and I honestly feel that I won the fight. Fair and square. It was not controversial decision or nothing like that. It is what it is, man."
If it is what it is, then it is a controversial decision. It is a decision that 48 of 51 members of the boxing media, according to Ryan Maquinana at CSN Bay Area, disagree with, most by a wide margin. It is a decision that, of 265 scores collected from around the internet at Fight Score Collector, 248 disagree with.
That is what it is. I mean, that's literally what it is.
I'm not expecting Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) to come out and say, "Actually, I didn't think I won." That wouldn't help anyone, really. If he said that, then a rematch with Manny Pacquiao -- which already seems largely undesired by the fan base and is being put on hold -- is really pointless.
It also would mean that if a rematch with Pacquiao doesn't happen, he's fighting someone else in a fight that nobody really cares about either, because the TV can call him "welterweight champ" all they want, but he'd be admitting that he's really not.
I don't blame Tim Bradley for any of this. Not the fight, not the way it was scored, and not this interview. Bradley, like anyone else, would protect his brand name here even if he really thought maybe he didn't get the win in this one. Bob Arum says that Bradley told him in the ring that he didn't think he'd won, before the scores were read.
I believe in my guts that Timothy Bradley did the best he could, particularly with two injuries to his foot and ankle on opposite legs last night. I believe in my guts that Timothy Bradley's performance should be commended. I believe in my guts that if there is a rematch, Timothy Bradley should again be considered a live underdog -- now he has 12 rounds of experience with Manny, and knows what he did right and wrong, and knows what Manny does right and wrong.
And I believe in my guts that he lost last night.