Late Saturday night, jaws dropped and boos resonated all across the city of Las Vegas. Throughout Manila people openly wept in the streets. In spite of it all, Manny Pacquiao remained calm.
"I hope you're not dismayed or discouraged," Pacquiao said. "I can fight. I can still fight."
That was obviously true on Saturday night. Most people who witnessed the fight felt that Pacquiao was in control the entire way. He landed clean shots early against Bradley, continued his assault throughout the fight, and looked like the championship boxer who went unbeaten over the last seven years.
Today, he is no longer a champion because of some judging that was questionable, to say the least. However, the scoring in professional boxing has always been subjective. Barring a knockout, the scoring is open to the interpretation of three ringside judges.
Pacquiao was never on the verge of knocking out Bradley. In fact, he was never even close to knocking him down. He seemed to take his foot off the gas in the late rounds, therefore, leaving the decision to the judges. Pacquiao stated that he will not make that mistake again in the proposed November 10 rematch.
"That will make me become a warrior in the next few months," Pacquiao said, "because in the rematch my feeling is I don't want to go the whole 12 rounds."
Most people who saw the fight, whether in the arena or on pay-per-view, were stunned to see Pacquiao's 15-fight winning streak come to an end. Quite frankly, they never saw it coming. Harold Lederman, HBO's unofficial judge had him winning 11 rounds out of 12.
Judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley. When the split decision was announced the pro Pacquiao crowd booed vehemently, and 81-year-old promoter Bob Arum couldn't believe the decision. "This isn't about a close decision," said Arum. "This is absurd and ridiculous and everyone involved in boxing should be ashamed."
"There's three judges out there. What do you want me to do?" Bradley asked. "Two of them felt I won the fight. That's all that counts."
When all the dust settled, Pacquiao lost the fight because the judges said he did. That sort of thing happens in boxing. Pacquiao came into the ring with the welterweight title and left without it.
"That's how we love this boxing," Pacquiao said. "In your heart, you know I was winning the fight. But it's okay. It's part of the game."