A curious event took place last night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV as WBO welterweight king Manny Pacquiao found himself in the unusual position of having a close points decision go against him following 12 rounds of combat with challenger Timothy Bradley.
The decision of ringside judges to award Bradley a 115-113, 115-113, 113-115 split decision immediately brought to mind Pacquiao winning his own controversial verdicts in bouts two and three in a trio of bouts against arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
The outcome of all three of the Pacquiao fights mentioned above certainly raise no shortage of questions about Boxing in general and its long acquaintance with issue of fairness.
In a sport, the winner is supposed to be the competitor who emerges victorious. Many sports have clear-cut methods of determining who won, such as a photo finish in horse racing, while in Boxing the method of determining a winner is much blurrier as it is the opinion of three judges that produces the final result.
Can Boxing still be considered a "sport" if the "winner" selected by those judges is, on more than the rare occasion, obviously not the competitor who has produced the superior performance?
Perhaps the massive drop fan interest in Boxing over the last 50 years, and the lack of major media coverage that is the result of such a decline in viewership, provides the ultimate answer to that question.
Yes, Bradley waged a very good fight, giving Pacquiao a far more difficult time than most had expected and yes, some of the rounds were difficult to score given the awkward, volatile nature of the clash but Pacquiao landed more punches in all but a handful of rounds and they were harder, more accurate shots that at times clearly shook Bradley.
There is already talk of a rematch in November and that offers Boxing the chance to start with a clean slate; let's hope that opportunity isn't wasted.
After all, if people are given a sport played on a level playing field, they'll generally watch it.