Manny Pacquiao’s camp today slammed the officials after the Filipino great lost his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title in a controversial unanimous decision to Australia’s Jeff Horn.
“The referee was sketchy, the judges were crazy,” fumed Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune, who is a former Australian heavyweight champion.
“Manny lost the fight, but Jeff Horn looks like a pumpkin,” Fortune added, referring to Horn who finished the
fight with a badly swollen face and needing stitches over his right eye.
The three judges scored the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 to Horn. “Those scores, that card? It should be the other way around,” said Fortune.
The result that caused dismay on social media among boxing and sporting greats. “This is what’s wrong with boxing,” tweeted former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.
“Horn was very game but I’m hard pressed to see how he could have won that fight by any stretch!” American football quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was equally forthright.
“Boxing is a joke, and it proves it again tonight. Are you kidding me with those scorecards? #joke #rigged,” Rodgers said on Twitter.
Baseball and NFL legend Deion Sanders said: “@mannypacquiao was robbed! I’m really upset right now. Really. This is ignorant. God bless u Manny and all u do for your country. #Truth.”
The fight statistics seemed to back the belief that Pacquiao had done more than enough to win. Broadcaster ESPN said that Pacquiao had landed 182 punches to 82 from the challenger over the 12 rounds in front of more than 51,000 fans in Horn’s home town of Brisbane.
Fortune, who once fought against Lewis and has been with Pacquiao since 2002, said Horn had been allowed to get away with a host of illegal tactics as he brawled his way to victory.
“That’s what you get down here,” he said of the tactics. “You’d never get away with that anywhere else in the world. You’d be penalised points.
“I don’t have a problem with dirty fighting and that’s what it was, a fight. You do what you have to to win.” Two of the judges, Waleska Roldan and Chris Flores, were from the United States while the third, Ramon Cerdan, was from
Argentina. The referee, Mark Nelson, was also from the US.
Pacquiao did not speak to media at the Suncorp Stadium after the fight but said on Philippines television: “We
thought that we won this fight.” The 38-year-old said he would welcome a rematch against the Australian former schoolteacher.
“Well, it depends, there is no problem with me if there’s a rematch,” Pacquiao said. “It would be better if the rematch would be held in the Philippines.
“To the Filipino nation, thank you for the love and support that you showed me.”