MANILA, Philippines – Timothy Bradley was a lucky man. Lucky?
He had to be assisted on little wheels in a wheelchair for his post-fight press conference with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. Looking weak, dazed, seemingly in pain, Bradley was looking poor, too – as in $5 million poor? – in bare feet, like a homeless man, with no shoes on to peep out from under his black training suit. Twisted ankle or a sprain in one or both of his feet, he was so deflated his voice could hardly be heard.
And our Manny? He stood straight and tall, unscarred, all smiles and all turn-the-other-cheek chivalrous. Glancing at the two pugs, it was hard to see Bradley as the champion. As far as his fans were concerned, Pacquiao’s TV line, “Aray ko! Galing ko!” said it all.
How was it that the wounded gladiator walked away winning the game? The judges, whose names suddenly became unpronounceable immediately after the fight (though they were clearly spelled out and carried in pre-fight reports), should be fed to the lions!
That allusion to the fate of the early Christian martyrs could not be helped after I heard Ronnie Nathanielsz and Ed Tolentino analyzing the 2-1 split decision that favored Bradley. The discussion took a theological turn when the subject of Pacquiao’s unwillingness to hurt or harm his opponent came up, the annotators concluding his killer instinct has been all but replaced by his “compassion.”
What’s important, said Jinkee Pacquiao, is that the champ “is safe.” To me, if Bradley couldn’t knock out Pacman, he’s still got a lot of proving to do.