Pac­quiao backs call for WBO re­view of his loss to Horn

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Manny Pac­quiao asked the WBO to act on a re­quest by Philip­pine sports of­fi­cials for a re­view of his wel­ter­weight world ti­tle loss to Jeff Horn, say­ing he didn’t want to see the box­ing in­dus­try “dy­ing be­cause of un­fair de­ci­sion and of­fi­ci­at­ing.” While Pac­quiao has ac­cepted his de­feat to Horn, who fought in his first world ti­tle bout in Sun­day’s so-called “Bat­tle of Bris­bane,” the Philip­pine se­na­tor said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day he had a “moral obli­ga­tion to up­hold sports­man­ship, truth and fair­ness.”

The 11-time world cham­pion cited a re­quest by the Philippines’ Games and Amuse­ments Board, or GAB, to World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion Pres­i­dent Fran­cisco Val­car­cel for a thor­ough re­view of the ref­er­ee­ing and judg­ing of the bout, which was staged out­doors in front of more than 51,000 fans at Sun­corp Sta­dium.

The WBO should take ac­tion on the Philip­pine re­quest “so as not to erode the peo­ple’s in­ter­est in box­ing,” Pac­quiao said. “I had al­ready ac­cepted the de­ci­sion but as a leader and, at the same time, fighter, I have the moral obli­ga­tion to up­hold sports­man­ship, truth and fair­ness in the eyes of the public.” “I love box­ing and I don’t want to see it dy­ing be­cause of un­fair de­ci­sion and of­fi­ci­at­ing,” he said. In their July 3 let­ter to Val­car­cel, GAB chair­man Abra­ham Kahlil Mi­tra and two other of­fi­cials ex­pressed con­cerns about “the pos­si­ble er­rors of the ref­eree and the three judges who of­fi­ci­ated the sub­ject fight.”

“We ... re­quest for a thor­ough re­view by the WBO for pos­si­ble mis­calls of the ref­eree where some de­duc­tions were not made and of the judges in their judg­ing that have caused vary­ing opin­ions on their ob­jec­tiv­ity,” the state­ment said. Pac­quiao’s train­ers were crit­i­cal of the ref­eree for not do­ing more to stop or pe­nal­ize head clashes and neck holds. They high­lighted sta­tis­tics that showed Pac­quiao, who needed stitches to two cuts in his hair­line that re­sulted from head clashes, landed twice as many punches.

Com­men­ta­tors from ESPN, which broad­cast the fight live in the U.S., were among the most vo­cal crit­ics of the out­come. All three judges awarded it to Horn, with Amer­i­can Waleska Roldan’s 117-111 score at­tract­ing most of the crit­i­cism. US judge Chris Flores and Ra­mon Cer­dan of Ar­gentina each scored it much closer at 115-113. Top Rank pro­mo­tor Bob Arum said it was a “close fight. It could have gone ei­ther way.” Pac­quiao had a re­match clause in the con­tract, mean­ing the 38-year-old Filipino could ne­go­ti­ate to fight Horn again be­fore the end of the year. Horn won the ma­jor­ity of the early rounds on all judge’s cards, but Pacquaio ral­lied and had op­por­tu­ni­ties to end the fight in the 9th when he had the Aus­tralian school­teacher wob­bling and on the ropes. Horn re­cov­ered and won the next round, set­ting up a bat­tle of at­tri­tion in the two clos­ing rounds.

The WBO pub­lished a photo of the judge’s cards on its Twit­ter ac­count on Sun­day night, and fol­lowed up on the GAB re­quest for an in­quest with an­other post on Wed­nes­day that said: “The dis­cre­tion of a ref­eree or judge can­not be re­versed, ex­cept in a case of fraud or vi­o­la­tion of laws which is not the case in Pac vs Horn.” Pac­quiao en­tered the fight with a record of 596-2, but the last of his 38 wins by knock­out was in 2009. Horn hadn’t lost any of his pre­vi­ous 17 pro­fes­sional fights, but had never en­coun­tered any­body with Pac­quiao’s cre­den­tials. Philip­pine of­fi­cials or­ga­nized a free public view­ing of the bout in south­ern Marawi city, to give thou­sands of dis­placed res­i­dents, troops and po­lice a respite from a dis­as­trous siege by Is­lamic mil­i­tants that has turned parts of the city into a smol­der­ing war zone. The Filipinos cheered for their box­ing hero, but fell silent when the de­ci­sion was an­nounced. Marawi cri­sis com­mit­tee spokesman Zia Alonto Adiong said then that many could not ac­cept the out­come but he added that the mo­men­tary en­ter­tain­ment was a re­lief and that Pac­quiao pro­vided a cru­cial mes­sage of courage and re­siliency to the war-weary res­i­dents and troops. — AP

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