Some boxers like to fight backing up. This is a conscious style, with advantages and disadvantages, like any style. Judges, though, tend to interpret this as retreating, and penalize the fighter for it, even though he is doing it by choice. "Ring generalship" is the vague and meaningless phrase cited to justify the judging of rounds based on who is walking in which direction. This is dumb, because it penalizes a legitimate strategic decision for no good reason. Often, judges reward the fighter who throws more punches, without regard for whether or not those punches landed, or did any damage, or did any anything except tire that fighter out and soften him up for the kill. Fighters win rounds because they were "busier," even if they were busy doing something counterproductive. This, too, is dumb, though it can be forgiven somewhat due to the fact that there are few real metrics by which to judge these things.I'd only add that even by the hopelessly vague standards of ring generalship, Pacquiao was better: Bradley backed up for most of the second half of the fight, not by choice but by necessity. If dodging the others guy's blows more than he dodges yours implies superior defense (and really, how could it not?), Pacquiao was far better in that regard as well.
Differences in philosophy, though, have their limits. When Manny Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez last November, Pacquiao tended to throw more punches, while Marquez landed harder shots. Most of the rounds were very, very close. In a 12-round fight with, say, eight close rounds, either fighter could win eight rounds to four, and the decision would be within the realm of reason. Pacquiao won. Marquez fans complained. But in truth, a decision for either man would have been fair. Sometimes, when it's genuinely close, it comes down to perfectly reasonable disagreements between perfectly reasonable judges. That's the game.
Sometimes, though, shit is just fucked up. Saturday night, by any possible standard, Pacquiao beat Tim Bradley. How do I know? Pacquiao landed 100 more punches than Bradley, and he landed all the hardest and most damaging punches. By either metric, he won. Bradley won at least two rounds; a generous interpretation could have given him four. Five would have been a stretch. But two of the three judges—Duane Ford and C.J. Ross—gave Bradley the fight, seven rounds to five. (The third judge, Jerry Roth, scored it seven rounds to five for Pacquiao.)
I think one issue, both last night and in the Márquez fight, is the fact that judges and fans often equate falling short of expectations to a fighter actually losing rounds. Pacquiao destroyed Bradley during the first half of the fight, and then was noticeably less dominant in the second. He was still winning handily, but he let Bradley breath a bit, took few risks, and stopped shooting for the knockout. But there was no question that in the only criteria that matters --who kicked whose ass harder, from one round to the next-- Pacquiao was better. Somehow, an obviously lesser Pacquiao turned into a losing Pacquiao to the two offending judges, Thomas Hauser, and really, to a lesser degree, anyone who found four rounds to give to Bradley.
In the Márquez fight, a similar dynamic was at play in the upset surrounding the bout: the narrative in the run-up to the fight was that at 147, a prime Pacquiao would walk right through a bloated, slowed, aged Márquez. That didn't happen, and it turned out to be a close fight. I thought Pacquiao won, but I can't begrudge anyone who thought Márquez was better. But the reason I think so many people thought Márquez didn't just squeak by but indisputably crushed Pacquiao was that the latter fell so short of expectations, and Márquez, in contrast, so exceeded them. But that only put them on even terrain, it didn't make Márquez the easy winner.