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Pacquiao vs Bradley 2: Should the WBO implement open scoring?

Joseph Herron Updated
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On May 13th, 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers received the ball with only 0.4 seconds remaining on the play clock in the final period of regulation during game five of the Western Conference Semi Final series with their bitter rival San Antonio Spurs. Coach Phil Jackson drew up the play, and Derek Fisher drained a spectacular buzzer beater, swishing an 18-foot jumper with a prayer off of an inbound pass to make an unprecedented and improbable game winner that gave the Lakers a 74-73 victory in one of the most dramatic NBA finishes in the league’s long storied history.

(Main image courtesy of Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 Fight Live Blogspot)

In basketball, as in most popular team sports, the players, coaches, and fans know exactly where they stand while the game is playing out. One look at the scoreboard is all it takes to know what strategy to use and what gameplan to execute at any time within the contest.

But in the sport of boxing, combatants have no idea what the score is until the fight is officially out of their hands. By that time, it’s too late, and their career is ultimately at the mercy of the judges at ringside.

In an event as consequential as Pacquiao vs Bradley 2, should both competing fighters know exactly where they stand in the minds of the judges at all times throughout the twelve round prizefight?

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach looks back at the controversial first bout with Tim Bradley and discusses how the fight played out on Saturday, June 9th, 2012.

“In the first fight with Bradley, it was so easy for Manny in the early rounds that in the back half of the fight he wasn’t throwing combinations like he usually does,” explains the Hall of Fame trainer.


“He was just throwing single punches and kind of going through the motions. He thought he was way ahead, of course, but we needed to be fighting aggressively three minutes of every round.”

As a result of not knowing where he actually stood in the minds of the judges at ringside, Manny Pacquiao lost the fight, according to two of the three kings on the ring apron. Judges Duane Ford and the infamous Ms. CJ Ross incoherently rewarded Tim Bradley seven of the twelve rounds, giving the undefeated warrior from Palm Springs the improbable victory and the coveted WBO Welterweight title.

In other sports, a victory or a loss is easy to forget. With the start of a new season every single year, one game is not as significant in the lives and the careers of the participating athletes.

In the sport of boxing, a blemish on the resume of a prizefighter is forever etched in the annals of history. Every prizefight at the elite level is like a Super Bowl, in which the agony of defeat lingers long after the final bell sounds.

Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley

When a single win or loss is so monumentally crucial to the career path and earning power of a prizefighter, doesn’t he deserve to know what the score is at all times within a twelve round championship contest?

Detractors will argue that a prizefight could potentially turn into a track meet if a boxer knows he is well ahead on the judges’ scorecards and refuse to engage in the championship rounds of a twelve round contest.

But in the case of Pacquiao vs. Bradley circa 2012, the Pacman would have more than likely put his foot on the gas and increased his punch output in the dramatic final rounds of the title fight had he known the contest was indeed close on the judges’ scorecards.

Should the WBO lobby to implement open scoring for this crucial twelve round fight on April 12th?

Both Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley deserve a fighting chance with so much on the line in this highly anticipated rematch.

Video: Derek Fisher 0.4 Second Game Winner vs Spurs in Playoffs


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