Pacquiao asks WBO to review controversial loss

Manny Pacquiao (left) salutes as he arrives in the Philippines to a military guard of honour after losing his welterweight title to Jeff Horn in Brisbane.
Manny Pacquiao (left) salutes as he arrives in the Philippines to a military guard of honour after losing his welterweight title to Jeff Horn in Brisbane.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MANILA • Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has urged the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) to review the "unfair decision and officiating" after losing his welterweight title to Australia's Jeff Horn.

The Filipino endorsed a formal call by the Philippines' Games and Amusement Board for the WBO to review the outcome of Sunday's fight in Brisbane.

"I love boxing and I don't wanna see it dying because of unfair decision and officiating," the 38-year-old said in a statement issued by his office.

"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."

In the twilight of a 22-year pro career in which he won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, Pacquiao, a sitting senator, initially called for a rematch, but later said he would also "think hard" about retiring.

Horn, 29, earned a unanimous 12-round decision.

A day after the bout, the Philippines' sports regulatory body wrote to the WBO calling for a "thorough review" of the decisions of American referee Mark Nelson and the judges.

"We are making this request for a review, which may call for sanctions on the referee and judges if so warranted, in furtherance of our mutual goal of protecting the integrity of the sport," it wrote.

Pacquiao attached a copy of the letter to his own statement.

"WBO should take appropriate action on the letter sent by the Games and Amusement Board so as not to erode the people's interest in boxing," he said.

The WBO on Tuesday responded to the controversy on its Twitter account.

"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," it said.

"The contract for Pac vs Horn provides a rematch clause, which the WBO is in accordance (with) if the promoters decide to move forward."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2017, with the headline 'Pacquiao asks WBO to review controversial loss'. Print Edition | Subscribe