By Keith Idec
Now that Manny Pacquiao has had some time process his upset defeat to Australian underdog Jeff Horn, the Filipino legend feels he was wronged Sunday in Brisbane, Australia.
Pacquiao told a small group of Filipino reporters aboard his homebound flight from Australia on Monday that he was “set up” in Brisbane. The 38-year-old Pacquiao was a 6-1 favorite over the previously unknown Horn in their WBO welterweight title bout, but Horn won a unanimous decision that was widely considered controversial.
In the immediate aftermath of his dubious defeat, Pacquiao said that he “respects the judges” and didn’t have a problem with how the fight was scored. His feelings clearly changed by Monday.
“The referee wasn’t competent,” Pacquiao said, according to the Manila Bulletin. “I felt I was set up.”
Pacquiao apparently didn’t elaborate on who he feels set him up in a fight that book place before a crowd of 51,052 at Suncorp Stadium in Horn’s hometown. Minnesota’s Mark Nelson is the referee to whom Pacquiao referred.
Pacquiao complained that Nelson allowed Horn to get away with dirty tactics, like hitting him with rabbit punches in clinches and head-butts. The powerful southpaw sustained two cuts during the bloody battle, both from what were ruled accidental clashes of heads.
Despite that unofficial CompuBox statistics credited Pacquiao with landing 90 more overall punches than Horn, all three judges scored the 12-round fight for Horn.
New York’s Woleska Roldan scored nine of the 12 rounds for Horn (117-111). Argentina’s Ramon Cerdan and Arizona’s Chris Flores both scored seven rounds for Horn (115-113).
“It was horrible,” Pacquiao said regarding the judging.
The former champion also has said since the loss that he’d like to face Horn in a rematch, but wants to have a direct say in choosing the officials for their second fight. Executives for Top Rank Inc., which promotes Pacquiao and co-promotes Horn, approved the WBO’s assigned judges and referee for the fight.
According to a story posted to philstar.com, a TV investigative reporter asked Pacquiao aboard the aforementioned flight if he thinks the dubious decision had anything to do with his soon-to-expire promotional contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank.
Pacquiao replied, “Let’s not think about that.”
The Pacquiao-Horn fight was broadcast by ESPN and marked the first Pacquiao bout since September 2005 that wasn’t televised via pay-per-view.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.