Yesterday, I went out with my family to Antipolo to enjoy one last outing. In doing so, I missed watching two highly regarded match-ups: the championship fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, and Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics.
Given the results of both, I think I got the better deal.
Boston fell to Miami, setting up an NBA Finals between the Heat and the Western champion Oklahoma Thunder. I guess I wasn't too surprised by this, since the Celtics were aging and the Heat hungry, and Boston could have avoided this crucial game if they had won Game 2, which they lost in overtime.
The big surprise of Sunday was Bradley's split decision win over Pacquiao, which drew international condemnation. Both Filipinos and boxing fans worldwide were aghast at the decision, since, apparently, Pacquiao had the advantage throughout much of the match. While he didn't knock out the still-unbeaten Bradley, and people will be wondering as to why he didn't, Pacquiao managed to connect with more punches and with a higher percentage rate than Bradley. Statistically, it appears as if Pacquiao was the more dominant fighter, and one can only scratch his head over the two judges who scored the match for Bradley.
Maybe C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, who scored the match for Bradley, felt that Pacquiao should have knocked out his younger opponent, in the manner by which he had won over such opponents as Rickey Hatton, Erik Morales, and David Diaz. Maybe the two judges felt that Pacquiao should have put Bradley away more easily. Whatever the reason, the decision stands, and set the stage for a rematch that might be bigger in scope and in payoff.
For me, not having watched the match, I look at the stats and wonder what Ross and Ford were thinking. What I do like is that Pacquiao took his loss in stride, and shrugged off whatever disappointment he may have felt. Perhaps, as Yahoo! boxing analyst Kevin Iole opined, "Controversy sells. The bigger the controversy, the bigger the rematch." So, boxing fans will be waiting for November, when the rematch is rumored to be scheduled, and see whether Pacquiao can take back what many feel was rightfully his, or whether Bradley will be able to stem the anticipated Pacman onslaught.