The two veteran judges at the center of a controversial split decision for Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title bout Saturday night have defended themselves, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal they stand by their work.
"I thought Bradley gave Pacquiao a boxing lesson," Duane Ford said, according to the newspaper. "I thought a lot of the rounds were close. Pacquiao missed a lot of punches and I thought he was throwing wildly."
Bradley came on strong in the later rounds, winning five of the last six on two scorecards and four on the third. He won 115-113 on the scorecards of Ford and C.J. Ross, while losing on Jerry Roth's by the same margin.
ESPN.com's Dan Rafael scored it 119-109 for Pacquiao and has called the decision "an absolute absurdity." The Associated Press had Pacquiao winning 117-111.
They weren't alone in their dissension.
The scores were met by great outrage from the 14,000-plus in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, especially with statistics showing Pacquiao connected on 253 punches to Bradley's 159. CompuBox statistics showed Pacquiao landing more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds.
Roth, who has been working fights for 30 years, told the Review-Journal on Sunday he thought Bradley rallied late but didn't do enough for the victory.
"I'm looking for effective aggressiveness," Roth said. "I thought Pacquiao won a lot of the early rounds, and I thought Bradley came on in the end. That's why I gave Bradley the last three rounds. But I still thought Pacquiao had done enough to win."
The Nevada State Athletic Commission's executive director said Ford and Ross are not likely to face discipline or a review.
Keith Kizer told the Los Angeles Times he anticipates Bradley's controversial split-decision win will stand.
"I had Manny ahead, but that's fine," Kizer told the newspaper. "All I can say is I think every judge should strive to get better.
"Every fighter who loses a close fight like that wants to look at the judges."
The commission's chairman, Skip Avansino, who was sitting ringside for the fight, told the Review-Journal he was content with the outcome.
"We had three seasoned professionals working and I don't question their determinations," Avansino said. "Unless something is brought to our attention that there was improper behavior, we're not going to take any action. I'm not going to second-guess our judges."
Bradley attended the postfight news conference in a wheelchair and has since been diagnosed with a fractured left foot and twisted right ankle.
Pacquiao appeared unscathed afterward.
Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, expressed outrage about the scoring and suggested an international association of judges be formed, or age limits for judges installed. "I know this from experience," said Arum, 80, "our attention span is less."
Ford is 74, Roth is 71.
"Those scorecards were ridiculous," Arum said. "Everyone near me said it's a fun fight, Bradley's really trying, but it's one-sided. If we had three experienced judges doing this fight instead, all we'd be talking about is how courageous Bradley was."
Many reporters at ringside unofficially scored the bout in the 9-3 or 11-1 range for Pacquiao.
information from The Associated Press was used in this report.