Say What?

Manny Pacquiao’s ring record says he’s lost four fights after his recent World Boxing Organization welterweight setback to Timothy Bradley Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

It should read three because Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross were apparently out to lunch after awarding the 12-round title bout to Bradley by identical scores of 115-113, while Jerry Roth gave it to Pacquiao 115-113. This corner had it 117-111 in favor of the Pac-Man.

According to the punch stat numbers, Pacquiao landed 253 total punches to 159 for Bradley, and 190 power shots to 108 for Bradley.

“It was a good fight,” said Bradley, who improved to 29-0-0 with 12 knockouts. “All the rounds were close. He’s a strong puncher.”

What is clear is that Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter he was three years ago when he would routinely throw more than 100 punches per round.

“I do my best,” said Pacquiao, now 54-4-2 with 38 knockouts. “My best wasn’t good enough.”

It wasn’t an overwhelming outing like the one against Englishman Ricky Hatton, who was knocked out in the second round, and who was decked three times.

Let’s not forget Pacquiao, an all-time great, is 33 years old, which is old for a boxer.

In terms of tactics, Pacquiao and his corner that included Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach along with conditioning coach Alex Ariza, the Filipino titan coasted through the first minute or two of too many rounds, and rallied late.

Had Pacquiao started fast and finished lively, perhaps two of the three judges would have seen fit to give him the round.

The opening stanza was a hint of what was to come as the Pac-Man, an eight-time world champion, came out flat and let Bradley, who lives inPalm Springs, dictate the pace.

Pacquiao did come on late, but was it enough for the judges? The second round was a solid one for Pacquiao, who landed several crisp straight lefts, and followed that with a torrid third round by again landing multiple clean lefts.

Pacquiao took the fourth round by drilling Bradley with neat body and head shots, and in the fifth, Bradley looked spent after getting tagged with more head and body blows.

It was more of the same over the next four rounds, with Bradley connecting with a few punches, while the Pac-Man finished with a flourish.

Bradley claimed the 10th round and the 12th, but that was it, so it’s hard to figure out what Ford and Ross were watching.

Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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