Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

On that controversial Pacquiao-Bradley fight: The bitter taste of being served something fishy

Bradley should be saying, "He's the champ."

The bitter taste of being served something fishy
by rick olivares pic by chris farina

Several years ago, one of our househelpers suddenly began yelping with utmost joy. She screamed. She danced. She cried. She went plain nuts. And that left us all perplexed. It was as if she had won the lotto. Only she did. Yes, she did.

The first thought that popped into my head was, “Oh, wow! This is incredible. Good for her.” The second was, “Can I be your house helper?”

Seconds later, the rapture turned into wailing and despair when she found out that all six numbers were not the winning numbers in the Metro Manila lotto but in the Visayas!

She was inconsolable. It took her about 30 minutes to get over it (I am sure she didn’t get sleep that night) and after that she mustered a smile over hot soup. She was embarrassed about her freaking out.

Well, yesterday’s Pacquiao-Bradley fight had that similar feel. It was a win only it wasn’t. There was a hole in that bag where Manny Pacquiao’s win was located. It was pilfered by Duane Ford and CJ Ross, the two judges who thought that Tim Bradley won the fight. And for the millions and millions who knew that Pacquiao won were served up a knuckle sandwich. We as a Filipino nation had our hearts and pride ripped from us.

With all due respect to Bradley, the fight did not have any sense of epic-ness such as the bout between Pacquiao and Oscar de la Hoya or the animosity between the fighting Congressman out of Sarangani and Juan Manuel Marquez. That doesn’t mean that Manny didn’t take the fight seriously. He tagged Bradley but couldn’t really put him away with those flurries he’s known for. Credit Bradley for being able to weave in and out of trouble. Now since Bradley maybe won one, two, or even three rounds, how was that enough to win?

How was that decision arrived at? I sensed no danger in the match for Pacquiao. Sure he got hit but in a fight everyone gets hit. But it was Bradley who got rocked. I personally scored it 119-109 for Pacman. And yet, no matter how the Compu box scores had Manny outslugging Bradley it was the Californian who came out the winner.

Was this karma for the Pacquiao-Marquez fight? No. That one could have gone either way and it wasn’t one-sided like this. If that was then this is a terrible terrible way to make it up. I remember how after the Marquez fight fans were so divided on who won and some pro-Manny supporters said that the only voices who matter – the judges – saw it the champ’s way.

And now it has comeback to bite Manny back in a shocking and horrific way.

Something doesn’t read, smell, and sound right. Heck, all my senses are screaming robbery. It’s Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13 combined. It is so bad that I demand that judges Duane Ford and CJ Ross be investigated and that their bank accounts be checked. Even Bradley’s wife thought he lost… ah, maybe not. But she doesn’t count. For all that happened on Sunday with all the sporting events, the loss weighed heavily in the back of my mind. He is after all, our very own Global superstar, so his win is our win and a loss, is ours as well. The decision is so bad that thousands of miles away, the food I ate didn’t seem all that palatable to me. It’s disgusting.

I am not sure about how boxing contracts are drawn up but why was there a rematch clause in the contract between the two fighters? Seriously. This isn’t Erik Morales. This isn’t Miguel Cotto.

After the third fight with Marquez and the forever-talked about possibility of a Floyd Mayweather bout seemingly in a galaxy far far away, I thought that Manny should have hung up his gloves. Like many athletes, it is hard to resist the lure of one more time. Muhammad Ali paid for it with Parkinson’s disease. I cringed when Michael Jordan made his ill-fated comeback as a Washington Wizard. Roger Clemens came back and while he did well, added more fuel to his ongoing investigation for using steroids.

But Manny, whether due to off-ring distractions or not (it is said that he watched Game 7 between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat while waiting for his fight to begin), has failed to pulverize foes since his decimation of Antonio Margarito (that’s Shane Mosley and Marquez). Is this a sign of slippage? With everything that is going on in his life I am not sure. He has managed all of it well save for the last fight against Marquez. He claims he was focused on this match against Bradley. Yet he was not his overpowering self. Some point to his going up and down the weight scale and that is rubbish. He has done that before and come up aces. He did seem slow and unable to put away a boxer who is not in his class. Only there’s the rub. He lost. Now if this is his last fight, how hurtful is that to his legacy? Of course, it is now imperative to fight at least one more time to rescue that legacy.

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