Controversy continues to haunt boxing

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas is an expression we have all heard. Presumably, it was meant for the wickedness that one should not bring home after a night in “sin city.”

It appears that depravity happened in Las Vegas on the night of June 9, but not necessarily in the places you might be imagining. It happened at the MGM Grand Hotel.

Challenger Timothy Bradley defeated the WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. Yet, Pacquiao connected with more punches (253 to 159) as well as landing more power punches (190 to 108) than Bradley.

When announcer Michael Buffer began with, “We have a split-decision,” the crowd at the MGM Grand was outraged. As Buffer continued with the scoring numbers — “Judge C.J. Ross 115-113 for Bradley, Judge Duane Ford 115-113 for Bradley and Judge Jerry Roth 115-113 for Pacquiao” — the booing was beyond decibel measurements.

Pacquiao, 33, was the World Boxing Organization’s welterweight champion heading into the fight. He has 54 wins, 39 knockouts, 16 decisions, four losses and was named WBO’s fighter of the decade (2000-2009).

Bradley, 28, has 28 wins, zero decisions, and zero losses. However, many feel some “funny business” went on in this fight.

I have never been a boxing fan since I got whipped as a 9-year old trying to get my basketball back from an older kid on the playground. However, the Tunney name has been recognized throughout the boxing world.

And while I carry the same name — James Joseph Tunney —as the former world heavyweight champion, “Gene,” I never had any ambition to step inside those ropes.

Gene Tunney was a boxer, not the type of fighter we see today. His defeat of heavyweight Jack Dempsey on Sept. 22, 1927, at Chicago’s Soldier Field still is talked about as “the long count.”

Controversy has been around boxing forever and continues to haunt the sport today. While names like Ali, Marciano, Sugar Ray, Hagler and many others have been able to rise above the suspicion of “fixing,” many believe the sport still carries that stigma.

WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel said although he doesn’t doubt the ability of the scoring judges, the WBO championship committee will review the video of that fight. Promoters have already indicated a rematch will be forthcoming. Stay tuned.

Will you “weigh-in” on your sense about boxing?

To contact Jim go to or email him at

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