World eighth division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has finally broken his silence over the cheating scandal surrounding his title fight against Australian Nedal Hussein.
Hussein took on Pacquiao for the World Boxing Council International superbantamweight title in the Philippines in 2000, losing by dubious stoppage despite knocking out the Philippine legend with a jab in the fourth round.
Pacquiao was given 18 seconds to recover from Philippine referee Carlos Padilla, who admitted to cheating during a sensational interview released by the governing body of the World Boxing Council (WBC) last week.
Padilla also confessed that he found an excuse to stop the fight early because he thought Manny would not win if the fight was decided by the judges.
Pacquiao (pictured with Australian coach Justin Fortune) is adamant nothing out of the ordinary happened in the fight, despite being given 18 seconds to recover from a heavy knockdown
Philippine referee Carlos Padilla (pictured) confessed to cheating Aussie fighter Nedal Hussein in a knockout win over the Philippine fighting icon
The match was called off due to a cut to Hussein’s face, which was caused by a headbutt from Pacquiao, but was ruled as the result of a punch from Padilla.
The referee said he signaled the ringside doctor to call off the fight, then unexpectedly threw his arms in the air to end the action, handing Pacquiao the win.
On Thursday, Pacquiao addressed the furore surrounding the result after a training session in his home country.
“It’s not cheating,” he said.
“We were just preferred because we were on our home field.
“As a boxer I just did the right thing. To me, I’m just a boxer. I just did my job in the ring.”
An irate Hussein is now seeking justice from the WBC, asking for the fight to be ruled a no contest in a correction similar to the one the body gave to his compatriot Jeff Fenech, who was recently awarded a fourth world title after he was deprived of victory. in his 1991 fight with Azumah Nelson.
Hussein (center) seeks justice from the WBC, but is not hopeful that the record will be set right
Pacquiao was badly injured by Hussein’s jab in the fight (pictured) and would have lost by knockout had the rules been applied by Padilla
‘He [Padilla] has openly admitted to cheating here – the man in charge of the fight,” Hussein told Daily Mail Australia.
“I mean, if someone confessed to a crime 20 years later, the police would track it down. The corruption in this sport is so bad.
“Winning that fight would have changed my life. I missed a few hundred thousand and a world title fight. Then I could have bought a house and I would have been much better off.’
Hussein’s lawyer has already sent legal letters to WBC president Mauricio Sulaimán, but the Aussie is not confident that anything will come of it.
‘She [the WBC] are the most corrupt commission in the world,” says Hussein. “There is no respect for them in the boxing world.”
In the interview with the WBC, Padilla didn’t hold back when he described committing one of boxing’s cardinal sins.
“Manny got knocked down, I thought he’d get up, but his eyes were cross-eyed [laughs]. I’m Filipino and everyone watching the fight is Filipino so I extended the count. I know how.
The Aussie boxer (pictured recently) said the blatant cheating cost him a world title fight for which the payday would have changed his life for the better
“When he got up, I said to him, ‘hey, are you okay?’ still prolong the fight. ‘Are you OK?’ [Pacquiao makes groan noise in response] “Okay, fight!” and then Hussein… because Manny wasn’t what Manny is now, he wasn’t trained by Freddie Roach yet, he holds on for life and the man throws him and he [Manny] went down again.
“I said to the opponent ‘hey, you don’t do this’, you know, I was prolonging the fight, ‘you don’t. OK, judges, [point] deduction.”
On Thursday, the WBC announced it had received a letter from Padilla’s daughter Suzy, in which she insisted her father’s comments had been taken out of context.
“My father is an 88-year-old man who is just that – old and older!” she wrote.
‘Despite having lived in the United States for decades, English remains his second language. Communication can be misinterpreted and well-intentioned words can be misinterpreted.
“The current situation is such a glaring example of what could have actually been said (no pun intended) and what may have been taken out of context.”