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Manny Pacquiao has backed a call from the Philippines’ Games and Amusement Board for the WBO to undertake a “thorough review” of the officiating in his shock unanimous-decision loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday.
Per the Associated Press (via ESPN), Pacquiao, 38, said in a statement he accepted the result of the world title bout but has an obligation to the sport and its fans: “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.”
Australian Horn, 29, claimed the WBO welterweight title from Pacquiao thanks to judges scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 in his favour.
Many questioned the outcome, including former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis:
Lennox Lewis @LennoxLewis
Wow! PAC loses by UD? One judge had it 117-111? 😳 Wasn’t the fight that I saw!
Boxing writer Tom Craze, though, suggested the furore was over the top:
Tom Craze @Box_Bet
Add Pacquiao-Horn to the ‘close fight, not a robbery’ file. Honestly feels like a fight has to be a KO1 to avoid more tired controversy.
Per the Associated Press, WBO president Francisco Valcarcel received a letter after the Suncorp Stadium bout from officials of the Philippines’ Games and Amusements Board, including chairman Abraham Kahlil Mitra, outlining their issues with the result.
It expressed concerns with “the possible errors of the referee and the three judges who officiated the subject fight,” and added: “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.”
Pacquiao is now clearly eager that the WBO act on that request after a defeat that has left his boxing future in doubt.
The eight-division world champion has now lost four of his last nine fights, and his overall professional record stands at 59-7-2.