FORGIVING those who sinned against you is good, but sometimes there is also a need to teach these people a lesson to ensure that the sin will not be repeated.
Manny Pacquiao swears by the Good Book that he has already forgiven the judges who screwed him in his recent showdown with American Timothy Bradley for the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) welterweight championship. Considering, however, that the WBO has not made any serious effort to correct the injustice done to Pacquiao, it is only proper for the Filipino ring icon to sever his ties with the organization.
The latest report about the WBO disclosing to the media that Pacquiao should have been declared the winner over Bradley has as much value as Mickey Mouse money. Pressured into conducting the investigation by the plethora of protests that followed the split-decision scandal, the WBO formed a five-man international judging panel to score the fight all over again. The judges, whose names were not disclosed, all scored in favor of Pacquiao: 118-110, 117-111, 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
Unfortunately, the result of the WBO’s investigation only confirmed what boxing fans already knew from the outset – that Pacquiao won the fight with plenty to spare. The result of the WBO’s re-scoring did not overturn the decision given to Bradley. As things stand, the WBO only plans to use the result of the re-scoring to justify its directive for a rematch between Bradley and Pacquiao. Then again, a directive from the WBO for Pacquiao and Bradley to fight again is superfluous considering that Bradley had already contractually obligated himself to give Pacquiao a return bout should he emerge victorious in the first meeting. With or without a WBO title, Pacquiao can invoke the rematch clause and force Bradley to fight him again in November.
More than re-scoring the fight, boxing fans wanted the WBO to go a step further and overturn the decision. For the record, WBO President Francisco Valcarcel said before the start of the investigation that his organization was powerless to change the verdict. The WBO’s championship guidelines only permit the holding of a rematch in cases where a title fight ends in a disputed verdict. The robbery that attended the Pacquiao-Bradley fight, however, was so blatant that not a few expected the WBO to throw the rulebook out of the window. Case in point: In October 2011, Chad Dawson supposedly knocked out Bernard Hopkins in two rounds to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight championship in California. Hopkins protested the result, claiming that it was a push, not a punch from Dawson, that injured his shoulder and rendered him unfit to continue. The WBC’s Board of Governors reviewed the video of the fight and when it became very clear that Hopkins was correct, the WBC did not wait for the result of the investigation of the California State Boxing Commission and promptly returned the WBC light heavyweight belt to Hopkins. It was a bold move by the WBC, and this was the daring move fans expected from the WBO in the wake of the Pacquiao-Bradley controversy.
Sadly, the WBO has chosen to remain passive on the matter. If the WBO did not bother to lift a finger to correct the result of the first fight, don’t expect it to come to Pacquiao’s aid should the same controversy erupt in the second meeting.
In the hierarchy of boxing organizations, the WBO ranks only fourth behind the WBA (World Boxing Association), WBC and IBF (International Boxing Federation). Countries like Japan, in fact, recognize only the WBA and WBC belts. Pacquiao has three other organizations to choose from and for sure these organizations will welcome him with open arms.
On the other hand, if Pacquiao agrees to a rematch with Bradley in November with the WBO welterweight belt on the line, he will only be rewarding the WBO for its nonchalant efforts in the first fight. With the WBO belt at stake in the rematch, the WBO will still collect a hefty sanctioning fee. Why reward the organization that did not bother to protect you from the injustice perpetuated by the judges in the first fight?
Despite the “loss” to Bradley, Pacquiao remains one of the biggest names in the punch-for-pay business. Clearly, he doesn’t need the WBO to maintain that stature.