Almost every move Timothy Bradley has made in the aftermath of his hotly disputed split decision win over Manny Pacquiao on June 9 in Las Vegas has been the wrong one.
His decision to call out Pacquiao on Wednesday, with Pacquiao only days away from choosing his next opponent, only adds to the list of his strategic errors since the bout.
In a decision that outraged millions around the world and prompted the Nevada attorney general to conduct a review of the bout, Bradley won a split decision over Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9 to claim the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
Perhaps never in boxing history has a win hurt a man more. Even Bob Arum, Bradley's promoter, was outraged at the call. Upon the bout's completion, he raced over to reporters at ringside and railed at the call.
Can you believe that? I had it 10-2! After I got into the ring after the fight, I went over to Bradley and said 'You did very well.' He said, 'I tried hard, but I couldn't beat the guy.' This is crazy. You talk about killing boxing? All three scorecards you throw out.
Arum demanded Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto conduct an investigation, particularly since most people believed Pacquiao had won going away.
The WBO, which sanctioned the fight, ordered a review and determined that Pacquiao deserved to win. Masto, in a letter to Arum, said she was unable to discover any evidence of malfeasance.
Displeasure with the subjective decisions of sporting officials is not a sufficient basis for this office to initiate a criminal investigation. Unless evidence beyond mere displeasure is forthcoming, this matter will be considered closed. While there may be strong disagreement with the decision, the exercise of professional judgment by individuals officiating at a sporting event is not by itself a criminal violation.
In the days after the fight, Bradley was largely silent, refusing nearly all interviews. At a time when it would have been important for him to get his side of the story out, Bradley chose, repeatedly, not to talk.
But with Pacquiao closing in on a decision, Bradley for some reason changed course.
On Wednesday, only days after Arum returned from a visit with Pacquiao in the Philippines, Bradley called out Pacquiao and suggested to reporter Leighton Ginn of the Desert Sun, his hometown newspaper, that "a lot of people on that side are scared."
Pacquiao is essentially choosing between Juan Manuel Marquez, with whom he has fought three extraordinarily close fights, and Bradley. Arum said that Pacquiao will make up his mind later this week or over the weekend and that he would likely make an announcement next week.
Bradley tried to nudge Pacquiao in his direction with an ill-advised shot at the Filipino superstar. The last thing Pacquiao is -- the last thing any professional boxer is -- is afraid. Yet, that was the way Bradley tried to make his case for a rematch.
To be honest with you, I think a lot of people on that side are scared. He couldn't knock me out with two peg legs. Me healthy, I'm going to beat him worse.
Bradley injured both of his feet in the fight, including a break of the left foot, and attended the post-fight news conference in a wheelchair.
Pacquiao will fight again on Nov. 10 in Las Vegas at the MGM, Arum said. Pacquiao is balancing how badly he wants to avenge the defeat against how much more money he'd make by fighting Marquez a fourth time. Pacquiao's third fight with Marquez in November 2011 sold about 1.3 million pay-per-view units. The Pacquiao-Bradley fight did slightly more than 900,000.
Bradley's bon mot in Pacquiao's direction is unlikely to sway Pacquiao's decision in a positive manner. However, it could have the effect of Pacquiao determining he doesn't want to give Bradley another payday.
Large segments of the fan base have said they'll never buy another fight again. Fans often make that emotional kind of comment in the aftermath of a decision they disagree with, but if Bradley lands the rematch, it is likely that sentiment would bubble up again.
Despite the win, Bradley isn't dealing from a position of strength. His belt is essentially meaningless, given that the majority of the world believes Pacquiao won.
Calling Pacquiao "scared" did nothing to enhance his odds of landing the fight. At this stage, if something won't improve your odds, don't do it.
If I had to guess, I'd guess Pacquiao is leaning toward Bradley, despite the fact that the revenues from the two fights would suggest Pacquiao would make far more money in a rematch with Marquez.
Regardless of who he fights, though, Arum said Pacquiao has committed to conducting his entire training camp in Los Angeles. In recent fights, he's done half in Baguio in the Philippines and the other half in Los Angeles.
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