Immediately following Timothy Bradley's controversial win over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night, super middleweight world champion Andre Ward posted to his Twitter account, "Listen, I love Tim Bradley, he's a friend. This is not his fault. Tim lost the fight, that's all I can say. ... I feel bad for all parties involved. All parties."
Now, speaking with the San Francisco Chronicle, Ward hasn't changed his mind:
"Bradley lost the majority of the rounds. If it was me personally, I would admit defeat and say, 'Here's your belt back.' ... It's a tough situation, but you gotta make a stand and that will help make sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen again. He won't lose any stock - in fact, his reputation would be enhanced. It would help us put the reigns on this Wild Wild West situation that boxing has become."
Bradley giving the belt back really wouldn't solve anything, in my estimation, and I have a hard time thinking something like that is anything more than an empty gesture -- besides, the WBO wouldn't allow him to just give it back and declare Pacquiao still their champ.
He'd essentially be vacating the title, and for what? No guarantee he'd get another shot at it? That would be the opening for Pacquiao vs Marquez IV or Pacquiao vs someone else, if there is indeed a chance that the November 10 rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley falls through due to lack of interest. If it's not worth money, Bradley's not going to fight Manny again.
But a lot of Ward's concerns are true. He believes that there needs to be a commission that actually has standards on things like this, and will investigate and discipline when necessary. We almost never see anything given a second look in boxing -- New Jersey did it last year, suspending all three judges involved in the Williams vs Lara robbery, and even then, they didn't take the win off of Williams' record or anything like that.
Texas and the IBF recently chose to do absolutely nothing about the shameful robbery of Gabriel Campillo, and in April, Brandon Rios won a deplorable decision over Richard Abril in Nevada, and nobody in a position of power blinked.
Ward also believes that the controversy has truly hurt the sport, just a month after a big fight that was successful both financially and in the ring:
"Boxing was doing great again after the Mayweather-Cotto fight, but one situation like this and we're back on life support. It hurts everybody. Everybody involved in the sport."
Ward (25-0, 13 KO) was at the show to promote his arrival on HBO airwaves, when he faces Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KO) on September 8 in Oakland.