In the wake of Manny Pacquiao’s questionable split decision loss to Timothy Bradley, Filipino fans have plenty of reason to feel bad. The controversial result has set the Twitterverse on fire with some proclaiming that the sport of boxing is dead (#RIPBoxing). But this isn’t the first time that the sport — one that has seen more than its share of scandals –- has seen a shocking result to a big fight and this isn’t likely to be the last.
Here at The List, we take a look at back some of the worst decisions the sport of boxing has seen. But before we get into that, here are some honorable mentions, as usual.
Joel Casamayor def. Jose Armando Santa Cruz
November 11, 2007
Madison Square Garden; New York, New York
Former Olympic gold medalist Casamayor was coming off a 13-month layoff when he faced Santa Cruz in 2007 and was immediately outclassed, getting knocked down in the very first round and thoroughly outpunched the rest of the way. Compubox numbers had Santa Cruz connecting on 246 punches to just 129 for his Cuban opponent. But for some reason, two out of the three judges scored it 114-113 for Casamayor who took home a split decision win and the interim WBC lightweight belt.
Oscar De La Hoya def. Felix Sturm
June 5, 2004
MGM Grand; Las Vegas, Nevada
The Golden Boy moved up to middleweight to face WBO champion Sturm as a precursor to a big fight against WBC, WBA and IBF champ Bernard Hopkins. But Sturm was a surprisingly game fighter despite being relatively unheralded. Sturm bloodied De La Hoya in the first round and outpunched the superstar, 234 to 188. Many observers thought he did enough to win but the judges all had it 115-113 in a unanimous decision for De La Hoya. Sturm filed a protest after the fight, to no avail.
Floyd Mayweather def. Jose Luis Castillo
April 20, 2002
MGM Grand Garden Arena; Las Vegas, Nevada
In 2002, “Money” was moving up to the 135-lbs division for the first time and was matched with Jose Luis Castillo. Mayweather was dominant to start the fight but Castillo turned things around in the middle rounds after Floyd seemed to injure his hand. Castillo attacked Mayweather’s body and outworked him as he went on to hold huge advantages in punches landed (203 to Floyd’s 147) and power punches (a more convincing 173 to Floyd’s 66) in a testy affair that saw both fighters get point deductions.
The judges, though, gave Mayweather a surprisingly lopsided result, getting a 116-111 on one card and 115-111 on the other two. The audience was unsurprisingly critical, booing the decision, and HBO commentator Jim Lampley openly saying he didn’t know what fight the judges were watching. Some observers still point to this a fight as a ‘gift’ result for Mayweather, with judges scoring it the way they expected the fight would happen rather that how it actually played out.