[credit provider=”Jeff Bottari/Getty Images”]
Nearly every single person associated with boxing thinks Manny Pacquiao got robbed by the judges in his loss to Timothy Bradley on Saturday night.Pacquiao dominated every statistical category, and most ringside observers had him winning between 8 and 10 of the 12 rounds.
This morning, Grantland’s Rafe Bartholomew wrote about a popular conspiracy theory that is circulating in boxing circles after the fight.
Here’s the gist of it:
- Pacquiao is promoted by a company called Top Rank.
- Over the past few years, Top Rank has gone to great lengths to makes sure Pacquiao’s big, pay-per-view fights are against fellow Top Rank fighters. That way the company doesn’t have to split the pot. (This is also why they’ve never been able to cut a deal to make a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight happen. Top Rank simply makes more money by Pacquiao fighting a Top Rank fighter than they would if Pacquiao fought the Golden Boy-promoted Mayweather).
- But Pacquiao has beaten every Top Rank fighter at this point, so the company desperately needed to find an intriguing opponent for Pacquiao to fight this fall.
- In order to manufacture some intrigue, Top Rank rigged Saturday’s fight to guarantee a big-money, all-Top Rank rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley in the fall.
There are further nuances and smaller theories within theories, but basically the conspiracy is this: Top Rank fixed the result so they could get another payday in the fall.
Obviously this is all speculation and nearly impossible to prove. And Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank, was convincingly outraged at the press conference after the decision, saying, “I’ve never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight.”
But at the same press conference he added, “I’ll make a lot of money off the rematch, but this was outrageous.”
Regardless of whether or not you believe that something fishy went on, what’s left of boxing’s credibility took a major hit this weekend.