Manny Pacquiao has backed calls from a Filipino government department for a full review of his “unfair” defeat to Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) welterweight championship to the Australian in a contentious points decision on Sunday in the ‘Battle of Brisbane’ at Lang Park.
While the 38-year-old Pacquiao said he accepted the view of the judges in his in-ring interview immediately after the fight, he has grown more critical of the result since returning to the Philippines.
Pacquiao issued a statement on Wednesday through his office as a senator, endorsing a letter from the country’s Games and Amusements Board for a thorough review of the judges and referee who oversaw the bout.
“WBO should take appropriate action on the letter sent by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) so as not to erode the people’s interest in boxing,” the statement read.
“On my part, 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 wanna see it dying because of unfair decision and officiating.”
Horn won via unanimous decision, inflicting Pacquiao’s seventh loss of his professional career.
It triggered an immediate uproar from boxing fans, mostly based in the United States and Philippines, who believed Pacquiao should have been awarded the victory.
One judge in particular, New Yorker Waleska Roldan, has come in for scathing criticism over her 117-111 scorecard, with the other two judges scoring the fight 115-113 in favour of Horn.
The WBO tweeted earlier on Wednesday: “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.”
Meanwhile, the recriminations are continuing inside Pacquiao’s camp.
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His promoter, Top Rank boss Bob Arum, and adviser Michael Koncz both attacked referee Mark Nelson for letting Horn get away with putting Pacquiao in headlocks and punching while holding him.
But Arum blamed Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach for not “yelling at the referee” between rounds to alert him to it.
“The corner didn’t have a strategy. They were all amazed Jeff Horn was such a tough, rugged fighter and they didn’t adapt to it,” Koncz said.
“There’s a lot of blame to go around but the bottom line is the kid had a lot of heart and came to win and did everything he could to get it, and the referee let him do more than he should have.”