Last weekend, virtually everyone was in uproar over the controversial and questionable decision that was awarded to Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (29-0 12 KO) over Filipino superstar Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao (54-4-2 38 KO). But before we discuss that, let’s not forgot that there were indeed other fights that took place last weekend.
In the super bantamweight division (122 Ibs.) Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0 8 KO) defended his WBA title belt against fringe contender Teon Kennedy (17-2-1 7 KO). The fight was one-sided from the opening bell, as Rigondeaux knocked Kennedy down five times in the fight, including twice in the second round. Kennedy had no answer for the speed, power, and accuracy of Rigondeaux and inexperience of Kennedy was shown. This is strange considering that Kennedy has more professional experience than Rigondeaux, but we cannot forget that Rigondeaux had a lengthy amateur career and is considered to be one of the greatest amateur boxers ever. Hopefully, he will start on a path towards proving himself professionally by facing more accomplished opposition. Some fans are calling for a fight with another Filipino superstar, Nonito Donaire, as a possible opponent for Rigondeaux.
In the welterweight division (147 Ibs.) Mike Jones (26-1 19 KO) was expected to easily beat Randall Bailey (43-7 37 KO) in order to win the vacant IBF title belt. For the first nine rounds, the script played exactly to what experts and undoubtedly the IBF sanctioning body expected, as Jones outboxed and outworked Bailey. However, Jones was winning unspectacularly as the fight drew boos from the crowd. In the last seconds of the tenth round, Jones got caught by a perfect straight right hand by Bailey and went down for the first time in his entire boxing career. Jones was able to recover and seemed to be on his way to winning a relatively wide decision when Bailey completely caught Jones off-guard by shooting a right uppercut on Jones’ nose and putting him flat on his back. The reason Jones never saw it coming is because Bailey isn’t known for throwing uppercuts. Blood immediately began to stream from Jones’ nose and when it became clear to the referee that Jones was struggling to get up, the referee waved the fight off and the result was an 11thround TKO victory for Bailey and he won the IBF title. You can bet that the IBF officials weren’t expecting that.
Jorge “Travieso” Arce (60-6-2 46 KO) took on Jesus Rojas (18-1-1 13 KO) and this fight was expected to be exciting, fast-paced action. It started out that way as Arce knocked Rojas down with a left hook in the opening seconds of the fight and Rojas fought back gamely in order to keep Arce from overwhelming him. Then the bizarre happened. The fight was ruled a no-contest when Rojas hit Arco with a hard low blow, hit Arce on the back, and then hit him on the ear. Arce was given time to recover from the low blow but the told the referee and the ringside doctor that he had tremendous pain in his ear and was hearing booming noises. The fight was stopped at that point. Some people think Arce may have sensed the danger in his opponent and used the ear punch as an excuse to get out of the fight, but considering that Arce has never backed away from a challenge throughout his entire career and has fought through horrific cuts and bruises, this writer believes Arce when he says that he is unable to continue to fight. Arce discussed a rematch during the post-fight interview in order to settle the score with Rojas because he believes that this ending is simply no good for boxing.
In the main event, Manny Pacquiao defended his WBO welterweight belt against Timothy Bradley. The fight started off slow, as the two fighters, who are usually aggressive, fought at a distance and tried to outbox each other. However, it became clear that Pacquiao had the faster hands and much more power, as he continued to beat Bradley in the exchanges. The fight gained steam when Bradley was able to land some of his own clean, effective shots, but it was clear that Bradley lacked the power to really hurt Pacquiao and this made Pacquiao’s punches look even more powerful compared to Bradleys. Pacquiao hurt Bradley several times throughout the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds. To Bradleys credit, he fought back in the second half of the fight as his jab and counterpunches began to work for him. The two warriors began to get in more even exchanges as Pacquiao got caught with more of Bradley’s countershots. However, Pacquiao counterpunched Bradley as well and it was clear that Pacquiao’s punches were still harder than Bradley’s. In the end, Bradley was awarded a split decision over Pacquiao, to the outrage of many. Bob Arum, the promoter of both fighters, has even asked for a possible overruling of the judges’ decision. Even though, like many of you, I feel Pacquiao won clearly, I highly doubt they will overturn the decision. Consider that more outrageous decisions than even this one weren’t overruled. Bradley feels that he won a close decision but has welcomed a November rematch with Pacquiao in order to settle doubts. This decision is entirely Pacquiao’s because he has a rematch clause but as of this writing, no official decision has been made.