As I've gone around looking for one opinion from a sport's writer who looked at this fight with neither the bias of a Floyd Mayweather fan or a Manny Pacquiao fan (quite unsuccessfully I might add), I decided to instead re-watch the fight several times with the commentators on mute, and form my own opinion. Last night I felt like Pac Man had been dominating the fight during rounds 4-6 after winning at least 2 out of the first 3 rounds. I still feel around the same on that aspect, but I noticed a few things that I overlooked after the first time watching.
1) Pacquiao didn't fight a full round one time last night:
It's true go back and watch the fight, even when Bradley looked completely outclassed in rounds 5 and 6 for some reason Pacquiao waited to really take it to him, I recall my own trainer telling me several times "If you want to win a round you have got to fight for 3 minutes". It's true, and i didnt see Pac Man put in a solid three the whole fight, and thats one of the things that cost him in my opinion.
2) Great fighters smell blood and finish, great trainers tell their fighters to go for the KO.
It's the end of the sixth round, the two are separated by the referee, Pacquiao starts to walk back to his corner only to see Bradley having to be shown back to his corner by the ref. At that point I was thinking, alright Pac Man is gonna go for the KO for sure the next round. Bradley had nothing, his legs were gone at the end of the round going into the 7th, had Pacquiao came out with one of those signature flurries of straight punches from the bell, I dont think we would be having this conversation right now. It was like Pac Man was completely satisfied with winning by decision, and he did the unthinkable, he let bradley get his legs back. In my opinion I believe Pacquiao when he said he wasn't hurt by Bradley in the fight, I think Bradley is a good all around boxer but with that being say Bradley at best only has the power to stun his opponents for a brief moment. At 147 alone we've seen Manny take some pretty vicious shots from the likes of Miguel Cotto as well as Antonio Margarito just for fun. Thats what confuses me; if Pacquiao had no respect for Bradley's power and he had the man so hurt he couldnt figure out where his corner was why didnt he finish? I'm not sure, maybe Roach told him to be cautious or maybe Pacquiao just got tired, who can say. But we should admit that Pacquiao allowing Bradley to lean and clinch and eventually get his legs back ended up costing him a controversial loss.
3) Bradley looked like 3 different guys in the ring last night:
1) Maybe it began as nerves, or maybe he wanted to show off his ability to trade with Pacquiao, but for whatever reason I really thought that the way Bradley fought from rounds 1-6 cost him the fight. Of those rounds I thought the only round you could even make a case for him in was the 1st (in which i thought bradley was the busy fighter until the last 30 seconds). Even still I knew that Bradley trading with Pacquiao openly was going to be a recipe for disaster, this became more evident by round 4.
2) Maybe the foot injury he sustained was bothering him or maybe he simply got overwhelmed, but in rounds 4-6 I think that Bradley got completely outclassed, partially because of how he was fighting. He wanted to stand in and win rounds, but as the going got tough he began to try and move his head away from punches with little success. I think Bradley didn't know what he got himself into and there were a few times where I saw Bradley feeling so overwhelmed with the speed and power of Pac Man that he began to duck his head before Pacquiao had even thought about throwing a punch. Then at the end of both 5 and 6 he payed for his attempt at a Roy Jones Jr. like defense and the fight probably should have ended right there.
3) From rounds 7 on Bradley became a trainer's dream. He listened to everything his corner was telling him to do, he did all he could to just survive round 7, leaning and clinching his way back into the fight. This actually allowed Bradley to both get his legs back as well as wear the Filipino legend down quite a bit. Then from rounds 8 to the close he began to work his way back into this fight, he began to fight more and more with a winning game plan and by the 10th round he's actually boxing Pac Man. He clearly wins 10-12 in my opinion by utilizing his jab and moving away from Pacquiao's big left hand. Pacquiao dosen't seem to be throwing his right with any kind of purpose for most of the fight as well. I thought Bradley makes a case for winning at the very least 4 of these rounds, and effectively changed the fight to fit his style and keep the bout competitive.
Finally, the end: As the 12th ended I turned to my dad and said "Its a shame, had Bradley boxed Pacquiao for 12 rounds I think he could have won the fight, but now we'll never know cause there wont be a rematch". Shock and awe ensued as the decision was brought to light and at first i couldn't believe it, I still don't think bradley won but after the onslaught he's gotten from every sports writer I have to tell the truth. Pac Man may deserve the win, but he didn't dominate the whole fight and he was nowhere close to pitching a shut out. I thought 115-113 Pacquiao was probably fair, but I thought an acceptable score could have been anywhere from 117-111 Pacquiao to 115-113. Point being, although I did think Pacquiao won the fight, it was much more competitive then anyone in the media would like you to believe, and when a fight is very competitive score cards can go either way. I think Pac Man had a great chance to win the fight and blew it thinking he was going to get the decision because his name is Manny Pacquiao and he was in the state of Nevada, and unwise decision that ultimately cost him no matter how controversial the decision was. Pacquiao forgot the dangers of allowing a fight to go to the judges, a mistake that won't happen again. Now the media is doing it's best to discredit Bradley even though he fought like a true champ, simply to try and save the mega fight. I'm just saying what needs to be said since no one else will. I don't think that this will make me too popular, but when any other fighter besides pacquiao finds himself in this predicament these are the things commentators will say, Pac Man allowed himself to be put in this situation by not fighting full rounds and by not stopping Bradley when he had the chance.Thanks