By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS -All that was missing was a gun at his back.
But there was no hold-up. Or robbery. Sure, he did lose his belt.
Manny Pacquiao can’t complain. There was no criminal act. Or any wrong-doing.
Oh, there may be a little incompetence. But that’s no reason to overturn the verdict.
In a letter to Bob Arum, the Top Rank promoter, Catherine Cortez Matso, the Nevada attorney general, said no evidence turned up to indicate any wrong-doing or illegal activity
”Displeasure with the subjective decisions of sporting officials is not a sufficient basis for this office to initiate a criminal investigation,” Matso said in her letter to Arum.
”There do not appear to be any facts or evidence to indicate that a criminal violation occurred,” she said.
Interviews with the judges by the Nevada Athletic Commission bear out these findings, Matso told Arum.
No harm, no foul, she seemed to say.
Matso’s decision came after the WBO asked five international judges to review the videotape of the June 9 fight at the MGM, in which two of the three official judges awarded the fight to Bradley.
The judges from Puerto Rico, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania unanimously decided the bout in Pacquiao’s favor, most with lop-sided scores.
However, the WBO chose to have Bradley keep the belt he took from Pacquiao, but ordered a rematch.
Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley, requested the inquiry to ”show the world that there were no improprieties.”
He offered no official response yet, however, to the outcome of the attorney general’s probe, although he has initiated talks with the handlers of Juan Manuel Marquez.
A potentially more lucrative fight than a rematch with Bradley, the fourth bout with Marquez could be held in Mexico City.
Matso, the Nevada attorney general, said that interviews with the referee of the June 9 fight, two Nevada Gaming Control Board officials and state Athletic Commission Director Keith Kizer turned up no evidence of wrongdoing.
Bradley won 115-113 on two scorecards, while losing by the same margin on the third.
The decision was greeted with jeers by the ringside crowd and lambasted by the boxing media as another indication of the growing unpopularity of the fight game.
This has spurred two U.S. senators – Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. John McCain of Arizona – to introduce legislation calling for a federal boxing commission to oversee professional boxing.
Although both Pacquiao and Bradley stood above the fray, they vowed to put up a more decisive result next time they meet. If the rematch happens, it will be held also at the MGM Grand Arena on Nov. 10.
What is weird is the general admission that the fight did not yield the true result, yet nothing can be done about it.
Welcome to the underbelly of boxing.