“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.” Niels Bohr
By Alex P. Vidal
Boxing journalists make their respective pre-fight analysis and predictions while inside the media center of a host hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
Only those accredited by Top Rank and Magna Media International are strictly allowed inside the media center where celebrities and VIPs proceed to be interviewed from time to time a week before, during and after the event.
Whether you are an American, a Latino, a Russian, a Japanese or a Filipino writer or newscaster, your opinion matters. If the opinion is impressive, it lands in the blogs and newspaper pages the following morning with proper attribution. Boxing writers also compliment each other by sharing and swapping data and sources. Sometimes they interview each other.
Not all predictions are accurate though. Nobody had expected Pacquiao to lose against Timothy Bradley when they first collided on June 9, 2009. Although most experts believed Pacquiao was robbed, the controversial 12-round split verdict was never reversed. The WBO 147-lb belt stayed in the waist of the black fighter otherwise known as the Desert Storm.
Hours before the official weigh-in or a day before the first Pacquiao-Bradley fisticuffs, Filipino writers having lunch in a Filipino restaurant on Las Vegas strip predicted a knockout win for Pacquiao. Nick Giongco of Manila Bulletin said he saw Bradley going to dreamland before the 10th round. Roy Luarca of Philippine Daily Inquirer and Abac Cordero of Philippine Star agreed with him. Vancouver publisher Rey Fortaleza and publicist Robbie Pangilinan did not disagree. I reiterated what I earlier told Rey and Robbie that “2012 is not the year of Pacquiao” and that I saw Bradley winning by a split decision.
My analysis was consistent with the statement I made in a long distance noontime interview with Bombo Radyo anchorman Don Dolido that Pacquiao would suffer his fourth loss since yielding via 12-round unanimous decision to Erik Morales for WBC international super featherweight title on March 19, 2005. The same statement I made to RMN-DYRI Iloilo anchorman Novie Guazo, GMA-6 Ratsada, and many other colleagues in Iloilo media.
When the American TV analyst posted the interview he gave me on youtube where I pushed for Pacquiao’s mandatory retirement after the Bradley fiasco, I was sledge-hammered by angry Pacquiao fans and called names.
Many of us also failed to anticipate Pacquiao’s 6th round KO defeat to Marquez nine months later. Prior to the December 12, 2012 debacle, Filipino, American and a few Latino writers and analysts had predicted a stoppage win for Pacquiao in his fourth meeting against the “slow” and “aging” Marquez.
We sensed something wrong when instead of egging Pacquiao to retire after the loss to Bradley, Top Rank boss Bob Arum still signed Pacquiao up for a record fourth clash against the grizzled Mexican bomber. Ergo, I picked Marquez to win on points.
On the eve of Pacquiao’s bout against Brandon Rios in Macau last November 24, 2013, tenminutes.com posted my pre-fight prediction of a Pacquiao victory by unanimous decision even as Manila experts made a cocksure prediction of a KO ending for Rios.
While I am proud to mention that I was able to correctly predict Pacquiao’s last three fights as well as some of his past fights, I also goofed when I claimed that Pacquiao stood no chance against the legendary former Olympic gold medalist Oscar De La Hoya, who capitulated in the 8th round on December 6, 2008.
As sportswriters, we are not in business to compete with Madame Auring or Nostradamus. We only report the facts and events based on what we see and the interviews we make. Attendance in press conference is also important. Direct quotes from news sources are essential for the story we write. We are given accreditation because of our credentials and experience, not because we are good in our forecasts and because we belong to giant news networks and publications. We don’t claim to be experts, but we have the edge when it comes to calling spade a spade and chronicling the events on a blow by blow account.