Saturday night was a rough one for boxing. The world saw one thing, two judges saw something else, and the world suddenly cared about boxing again. Sadly it was for all the wrong reasons. The fight was competitive but not one where you wondered who won. Pacquiao took charge midway through and never looked back except for a couple moments late. Bradley was right there with him, hooking to the body and fighting back every time Pacquiao landed a big punch. But it was not enough in the eyes of anyone to say “Tim Bradley clearly won this fight.” But that said, it never matters what we think. It matters what the judges think. And in this case, they had Bradley ahead.
Professional boxing, or prizefighting, emerged in the early twentieth century as boxing gradually attained legitimacy and became a regulated, sanctioned sport. Professional boxing bouts are fought for a purse which is divided between the boxers as determined by contract. Most professional boxing bouts are supervised by a regulatory authority to guarantee the fighters’ safety. Most high-profile bouts obtain the endorsement of a sanctioning body, which awards championship belts, establishes rules, and assigns its own judges and referee. Professional boxing bouts are typically much longer than amateur bouts, and can last up to twelve rounds, though less significant fights can be as short as four rounds. Protective headgear is not permitted, and boxers are generally allowed to take substantial punishment before a fight is halted. Pro boxing has enjoyed a much higher profile than amateur boxing throughout the twentieth century and beyond.