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Bradley defeats Pacquiao in split decision rife with controversy

Pacquiao may have landed and thrown more punches, but he still lost to Bradley in a controversial split decision.

In a match boxing enthusiasts believed would establish one person as the sport's undisputed top contender, the results of the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley Jr. showdown may have left more questions than answers.

Last Saturday before a capacity crowd of 14,000 and millions of pay-per-view viewers – including those who got to see the match for free after making a money transfer to the Philippines through Xoom – the Pacquiao/Bradley bout went the distance by lasting all 12 rounds. But in a stunning upset, the pride of the Philippines lost to Bradley when the judges made their decision.

As compelling as the match was to watch, however, many people went away from the bout with a sour taste in their mouths, as impartial observers and casual scorers alike indicated Pacquiao had the upper hand throughout the event.

According to multiple reports, Pacquiao outperformed Bradley in almost every round, with Bradley coming on strong in only a handful of the later rounds. But when the official scorers tallied up Bradley's and Pacquiao's points, two of the judges had Bradley winning 115 to 113 while the third had the same score in Pacquiao's favor.

The most compelling aspect of the event suggesting the Fighting Pride of the Philippines was the actual winner was the punch count. Pac-Man landed nearly 100 more punches than the newly crowned light-welterweight champion, connecting on 253 punches to Bradley's 159. Not only that, but the 33-year-old southpaw landed more power punches, scoring 190 to Bradley's 108, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

ESPN was one of the impartial ring observers that scored each round. ESPN.com's Dan Rafeal had the bout at 119 to 109 in favor of Pacquiao. But when the decision was handed down and Bradley's arm was raised in victory, Rafael called the decision "an absurdity."

Reporters for The Associated Press were similarly baffled by the decision, as they had the Fighting Congressman winning 117 to 109. While Pacquiao was disappointed by the judges' verdict, perhaps no one was more stunned than his trainer, Bob Arum.

"Those scorecards were ridiculous," Arum told reporters afterward. "Everyone near me said it's a fun fight, Bradley's really trying, but it's one-sided. If we had three experienced judges doing this fight instead, all we'd be talking about is how courageous Bradley was."

The judges who had Bradley winning stand by their decisions, however. In an interview with a Las Vegas newspaper, judge Duane Ford said he thought Bradley gave the now former WBO light-welterweight champion a "boxing lesson," and that Pacquiao was wild with his punches throughout the night.

Talk about the controversial decision will likely continue for the foreseeable future as Pacquiao looks to prove the judges wrong on November 10, when the rematch will be held.

You can guarantee Manny will be ready.

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