x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Pacquiao loses?

Just what does a guy have to do to win a boxing match, anyway?

Unbelievable. Shocking. Disgraceful. A few of the words used to describe the latest controversy to hit the world of boxing.

Yesterday morning, Manny Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title despite the fact that he had, in many experts' eyes, thoroughly outboxed and out-thought his American opponent, Timothy Bradley, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. To a chorus of boos, Bradley was awarded a split decision.

Professional boxing is no stranger to odd split decisions. Often, one judge's scorecard flies in the face of common sense, but does not skew an obvious outcome. And then there are decisions like Saturday's, which shook the sport and enraged Pacquiao fans in the Philippines and across the world.

The question is how can scorekeeping be improved. There will always be those who see conspiracies behind dodgy rulings, but in most cases human error is the likely culprit. Perhaps more judges would be one solution, statistically reducing the margin for error. In the sweet science, however, subjectivity will always be a factor.

The two men will almost certainly meet in a rematch on November 10. Look to Pacquiao to take the decision out of the judges' hands.