There was only one winner of Sunday’s big fight at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, and for longtime boxing trainer Teddy Atlas, it sure as hell wasn’t Timothy Bradley.
“If you’re an honest man, if you’re a competent person that knows what he’s watching, [Manny] Pacquiao won that fight,” Atlas said in an appearance on ESPN, where he serves as a boxing analyst.
For Atlas, one of two reasons would compel judges to award the fight to the undefeated American fighter: incompetence or corruption.
“In this case again, they don’t know what they’re watching, at the very best,” said Atlas. “Which is a sad thing to say, that at the best they didn’t know what they were watching, and at the worst they were influenced by other outside forces.”
Atlas also hinted that there was something fishy because of Pacquiao’s contract situation with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
“I’m not sure if it’s accurate that Pacquiao was about to leave one of the kingpins of the sport, Bob Arum. His contract was running out. But I think it was. And when that happens, sometimes funny things happen.”
Arum had earlier expressed his disgust over the decision, saying that Pacquiao was robbed. But in an interview with Agence-France Presse, the veteran promoter stopped short of alleging that the fight was fixed.
“The one thing I refuse to even consider is that there was anything funny going on — betting or anything,” Arum said. “I don’t believe that. To the bottom of my bones I don’t believe that.
“I know these guys,” Arum said of the judges. “They’re honest. They need to correct their vision, but they’re honest.”
Meanwhile, conspiracy theories abound on the Internet. Haralabos Voulgaris, a professional sports gambler and poker player, noted on Twitter the curious amount of last-minute bets on Bradley in Las Vegas, hours before the opening bell.
“Late money on this boxing match, Pac was -432 at 2pm it closed -397 at pinny,” wrote Voulgaris. “Lots of late money on Bradley. Take that fwiw.”
Atlas, meanwhile, reiterated his call for reforms in the sport.
“I think there should be a scoring of judges — you know, a disciplinarian sort of board, that holds them accountable for their decisions. We don’t have that, and if we don’t have that, and we continue to not have that, guess what? We’re going to continue to have these kind of discussions, about fights that we thought the other guy should’ve won.”