Tuesday, June 12, 2012 | 2 a.m.
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Bob Arum is changing his tune about a potential rematch fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley.
In the post-fight press conference Saturday following Bradley’s controversial split decision victory against Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title, Arum told Pacquiao he would fulfill the Filipino boxer’s wishes and promote a rematch fight.
Monday night, Arum adamantly said Pacquiao-Bradley II is an unlikely option. Arum’s Top Rank promotes both fighters.
“I don’t want to do a rematch,” Arum said. “This fight was a one-sided fight. If it had been scored properly — 10-2 or 9-3 — who would be asking for a rematch? Nobody. Just because these officials screwed up, that doesn’t justify a rematch.”
Several observers scored the fight heavily in favor of Pacquiao, but when the bout went to the judges’ scorecards for the decision, the result was shocking. All three scored it 115-113, with C.J. Ross and Duane Ford ruling in favor of Bradley for the unlikely win. It snapped a seven-year, 15-fight winning streak for Pacquiao.
The decision is being classified as one of the worst in boxing history, and Arum repeatedly said he was ashamed for the sport. Some 36 hours later, he still was outraged.
“I absolutely still feel the same way. That’s ridiculous,” he said.
Bradley made headlines last week during the pre-fight promotion by holding an oversized ticket for a rematch on Nov. 10, showing confidence he was going to beat Pacquiao and trigger the rematch clause. But, as Arum explained Monday, Pacquiao isn’t contractually obligated to take the rematch. This despite Pacquiao saying he would be interested.
“That makes me I think I have to become a warrior in the right for this rematch,” Pacquiao said Saturday after Arum said he would do the rematch. “In the rematch, my thinking is I don’t want to finish the whole 12 rounds.”
If Arum has his way, he would have Pacquiao fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 10. A fight with Mayweather, who is currently serving an 87-day jail sentence for domestic violence, is much anticipated and would arguably be a fight of the decade — well, if both sides could finally comes to terms after several failures on agreeing how to split money and drug-testing methods.
A fight against Marquez, which would be ideal in the interim if Mayweather can’t be in fighting shape by November, would be the fourth meeting between the two and appealing because of how close the three previous fights were. Last fall, Pacquiao took a majority decision in a fight that went back and forth.
That wasn’t the case Saturday against Bradley.
While Bradley can be credited with fighting from start to finish, and possibly stealing some late rounds, several feel he didn’t come close to earning the win.
Pacquiao, who closed as a 4-to-1 betting favorite, landed 34 percent of his 751 punches while Bradley landed just 19 percent of his 839 punches. Pacquiao landed 190 power punches and Bradley landed 108, and Pacquiao landed more punches in 10 of 12 rounds.
Arum said he could pair several fighters against Bradley, including the winner of July’s Amir Khan-Danny Garcia bout.
The outrage from fans is something Arum hasn’t seen in his lengthy promoting career. The Top Rank offices in Las Vegas were flooded Monday with phone calls from upset fans looking for a refund on their pay-per-view buy. Arum said those fans were directed to field their complaints with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“It’s unbelievable. They were calling from all over the country looking for a refund,” he said.
Also Monday, Arum submitted a formal request to the Nevada attorney general’s office for a complete inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the scoring. He requested to be interviewed as part of the inquiry to clear his name from wrongdoing or conspiracy theorists speculating he was behind the decision.
“I asked them to investigate my involvement as a promoter. I want them to take my testimony,” he said.