MANNY Pacquiao wasn’t surprised with the decision of a five-man judges panel commissioned by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to review the welterweight title fight between the Filipino boxing legend and Australia Jeff Horn last week.
The members of the panel on Tuesday affirmed the official result declaring Horn the winner of the 12-round bout via unanimous decision - a result met with anger and disbelief around the world.
Three of the judges had the 29-year-old Australian winning by scores of 115-113, 114-113, and 114-113, one of them scored it in Pacquiao’s favor, 114-113, and the other had it a draw, 114-114.
The judges reviewed the fight without the benefit of an audio.
Pacquiao admitted he saw the decision coming.
“Nothing surprises me now,” said the 38-year-old great in an official statement.
He added everyone around the world knew who the rightful winner was during that controversial July 2 title bout held before a record crowd of 51,052 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia and beamed to U.S households through ESPN.
“Let the people judge for themselves,” added Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs). “People saw what happened. We have seen worse judgments in the past where judges manipulated results.”
The re-scoring of the fight was ordered by WBO president Paco Varcarsel in reply to a formal letter of complaint filed by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) protesting about how scoring and officiating were made during the fight.
The three judges had the unbeaten Horn winning the closely-fought bout by unanimous decision, although one of them, Waleska Roldan, saw the Australian winning comfortably, 117-111.
The GAB also criticized referee Mark Nelson for giving Horn too many leeway to roughhouse and do dirty tactics on the champion without the benefit of a warning.
But Varcarcel said the review was not in any way meant to reverse the outcome of the match.
“The purpose of this review is to be able to give the fans certainty of who was the winner of the bout, even though we do not have the power to reverse the decision of the judges,” said the WBO prexy.
GAB was grateful for the swift act made by the WBO on its request, but persisted that had Nelson did his job right, the judges’ scorecards would have been different.
“We are grateful that the WBO acted promptly on our request, but no matter what review they do, it will be hard to change the result as the referee didn’t call it close,” the government agency headed by Abraham Mitra said in a statement.
The judges’ scores would have greatly changed if the referee did his job properly. He didn’t give Senator Manny Pacquiao the respect and fair protection that is due to a people’s champ.”