This video highlights some announcing gaffes by HBO’s ringside crew during the Manny Pacquiao – Timothy Bradley fight. Clips are isolated that show the Pacman bias by Jim Lampley, Harold Ledderman and company. The truth is, it is hard to understand what exactly is happening in a boxing match.
I’m pretty sure you could do this with any fight. You’re isolating a 5-10 second clip from a three-minute round and slowing it down. I’m guessing there were some moments where Bradley got credit for landing punches that he didn’t. At full speed, its almost impossible to see what lands cleanly, what glances and what completely misses. Boxing takes place in a tiny space at a breakneck speed. In real-time, it’s almost impossible to call it well.
Pacquiao and Bradley combined for nearly 1600 punches thrown, with Pacquiao landing a higher volume (253 v. 159) and percentage (34% v. 19%). CompuBox also offers an explanation that Pacquiao started the rounds slowly, which could have convinced the judges he was fighting from behind the entire time. That’s the problem with combat sports. We talk about how awful judging and officiating is, but the truth is, it is really freaking hard.Your brain tricks you into seeing the fight how you want to see it.
Even when you’re just watching a fight between two guys you are not familiar with, you don’t watch it as an impartial observer. If you sit down and watch a fight – MMA, boxing, street, whatever – and you have no idea who these people are, you’re going to build your own perception of what is happening. The first thing you do is have your attention drawn to one fighter. From there, you watch the fight from a certain perspective.It could be any number of things: size, body type, hair cut, skin color, what they’re wearing, how they’re moving or acting. Maybe most importantly – who is the favorite and who is the underdog? As a human being you will either like or dislike something about one of the fighters. That shapes how you perceive the fight.
When you’re watching something like the Pacquiao – Bradley fight, you come in with preconceived notions. Is Pacquiao the best fighter on the planet or is he overrated? Are you hoping that Bradley will get his ass kicked, give Pacquiao a good fight or knock him out? Are you watching with the sound off? Is there a Pacquiao fan with you? Are you paying attention to the crowd noise?
With the announcers, they’re all likely coming in with a healthy respect for Pacquiao and the perception that Bradley is just another place holder until the Dream Fight. Pacquiao is the champ and he’s the reason people have bought the pay per view. That means the commentators are going to be calling the fight as, “The Pacquiao Fight.” I’m not saying that Pacquiao should or should not have won the fight, I just think there is a lot more grey area when you’re watching a fight. Let alone scoring it.