In the first controversial decision win over Manny Pacquaio, Bradley claimed that his determination not to wear socks in the fight led to an advantage for Pacquaio when the loose footwear caused damage to his feet. Becoming infamously known as SockGate, this pathetic attempt at mitigating the weaknesses in Bradley’s performance drew harsh criticism, especially from Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach. Last night, Pacquaio thoroughly dominated Bradley after taking a few good shots early, and Bradley returned to form, spending more energy avoiding damage, in contrast to his claims about what he would do in the fight and his most recent battle with the less talented Ruslan Provodnikov. In that fight, Bradley had claimed that he would stand in front of the straight forward slugger and go for the knockout, fighting in a style he never had before. Received with much skepticism, this assertion actually turned out to be true. Bradley suffered a severe concussion, and was lucky the referee didn’t stop the fight or call more knockdowns for Provodnikov, but he did make good on his claim. Going against all logic in the strategy of the sport, Bradley claimed he would do the same in his rematch with Pacquiao. He did no such thing, even in the early rounds, and after about five rounds, he gave up entirely.
After the fight Bradley began martyring himself again. “After the first round, I got injured, injured my calf, had to adjust my style. That’s why I went in there, and I was just tryna end it with one shot. Man, you know I told you I’d come here and look for the knockout; I knew if the fight was close I wasn’t gonna get the decision, so I was like ‘man you know I’m better off just tryna knock this guy out,’ yeah I couldn’t find my distance and my balance because of my foot, man, but you know, hey, injuries happen, no excuses whatsoever…” To put that into context, after only a few amateur fights, I had a pretty good idea of what kind of boxing footwear was necessary and how to adjust them so that these types of problems wouldn’t happen.
Having been away from the analysis game for a while, I was a little rusty and had gotten it into my head that based on his last performance and the controversial decision over Pacquiao, Bradley had a real shot if he used all his defensive ability and speed. I had forgotten the classic pattern for prizefighters who claim to have changed their ways after a surprising win. They always return to form. The only question is to what degree they own up to their performances. More distinctly than usual, Bradley has shown his true colors, and they’re all yellow.