Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines has lost his WBO welterweight title to US fighter Timothy Bradley after a controversial split decision in Las Vegas.
"I've never been as ashamed to be associated with the sport of boxing as I am tonight "
- Bob Arum, Fight promoter
Pacquiao appeared to have dominated Bradley in Saturday's bout, leading with his probing left hand, then mixing in a series of telling combinations in the third round.
Pacquiao looked stunned at the announcement of the judges decision after the match.
The defeat was Pacquiao's first since he lost to Erik Morales in Las Vegas in March 2005, ending a run of 15 consecutive wins by the Filipino who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.
Fight promoter Bob Arum lambasted the judges afterwards in the post-fight news conference.
"I've never been as ashamed to be associated with the sport of boxing as I am tonight," he said. "This is a fight that respected people scored 11-1, 10-2 to Pacquiao. They said that Bradley was trying hard but that this was a mis-match.
"Desert Storm" Bradley, a 5-1 underdog against Pacquiao, improved his perfect record to 29-0 with 12 knockouts, while Pacquiao slipped to 54-4-2 with 38 knockouts.
Judge Jerry Roth (115-113) awarded the fight to Pacquiao while CJ Ross (115-113) and Duane Ford (115-113) gave it to the Bradley, but the crowd responded with boos after 12 rounds which the Filipino had appeared to dominate.
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"I accept what the result is," Pacquiao, 33, said ringside. "I respect the judges, I cannot blame them. It is a part of the game. I give thanks to the Lord. I do my best but my best wasn't good enough."
Asked if he thought he had won the fight, Pacquiao replied: "Absolutely, yes," and the crowd erupted with cheers.
"It was a good, competitive fight," said Bradley. "Every round was pretty close. Pacquiao won some of the early rounds. I controlled the later rounds with my jab. I need to go home and review the tape.
"He is a strong puncher. He rocked me a couple of times in the fight but I held my ground and fought to the end. This is boxing."
The official statistics reflected how much more punishing Pacquiao's blows had been.
He connected with a higher percentage of punches thrown, 253 of 751 to the 159 of 839 for the American, and landed 190 power punches compared to his opponent's 108.
"It is unfathomable," fumed Arum. "These people don't know how to score. The truth is they're too damn old to judge any more. What were they looking at? This was not a close fight. It's not good for the sport of boxing."