Manny Pacquiao calls for the WBO to review controversial loss to Jeff Horn citing "unfair decision and officiating"

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Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday urged the World Boxing Organization (WBO) to review the “unfair decision and officiating” after losing his welterweight title to Australia’s Jeff Horn.

Pacquiao 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,” Pacquiao, 38, 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,” said Pacquiao, also a sitting senator.

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

Widely written off by observers, Horn, 29, shocked Pacquiao with his ultra-aggressiveness to earn a unanimous 12-round decision.

A day after the bout, the Philippines’ sports regulatory body wrote the WBO calling for a “thorough review” on 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,” the board 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,” Pacquiao said.

The WBO on Tuesday responded to the controversy in 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,” the WBO 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.”

While saying he respected the fight outcome, Pacquiao had questioned the referee’s decisions and made disparaging comments about Horn.

“He’s not really good but he’s really strong,” Pacquiao said of Horn on Monday, while the Filipino’s camp criticised the referee for supposedly allowing the undefeated Australian to get away with a host of illegal tactics.

“The problem here is that the referee, I don’t know if he did it deliberately or he just did not have experience, he just allowed it and did not even give any warning for how many times,” Pacquiao said.

“It’s as if the referee wanted to help my opponent.”

Manny Pacquiao v Jeff Horn

Provided by AFP Sport

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Manny Pacquiao to "think hard" about retirement following stunning defeat to "not really good" Jeff Horn

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Eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has said he will “think hard” about retiring after his stunning and controversial defeat to unheralded Australian challenger Jeff Horn.

Arriving home in the Philippines a day after losing his WBO welterweight title in a major upset in Brisbane on Sunday, the 38-year-old Pacquiao said he was thinking about hanging up his gloves for good.

“I am also considering the opinion of people, the opinion of my family and my body,” Pacquiao told ABS-CBN television on Monday night when asked about retirement.

“I plan to relax first and recover from the pains in my body and then after that, when I have already relaxed, that’s when I will think hard about it.”

Immediately after the fight, Pacquiao had said he wanted a rematch with Horn.

Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, and his trainer, Freddie Roach, had said they would advise him to quit boxing after a phenomenal 22-year professional career in which he won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.

Pacquiao briefly retired from boxing last year to pursue his long-held political ambitions and was elected senator. But he quickly made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.

The 29-year-old Horn’s ultra-aggressive style proved too much for Pacquiao, with the three judges scoring the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 to the Australian after 12 rounds.

On Monday, Pacquiao made disparaging comments about his opponent.

“He’s not really good but he’s really strong,” Pacquiao said of Horn, as he questioned the decisions of American referee Mark Nelson.

“There is no problem with the style of Jeff Horn if he plays dirty, because there is a referee,” Pacquiao said.

“The problem here is that the referee, I don’t know if he did it deliberately or he just did not have experience, he just allowed it and did not even give any warning for how many times. It’s as if the referee wanted to help my opponent.”

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Fightclub: Manny Pacquiao taken to school by Jeff Horn and the judges

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Aussie grit: Jeff Horn, with a cut above his right eye, unloads a fierce right-hand on Manny Pacquiao

The result led to jubilation for Jeff Horn, agony for Manny Pacquiao and despair for boxing at large.

In one of the biggest upsets of the decade, the 29-year-old former schoolteacher secured a unanimous decision over one of the all-time greats, despite being outpunched 182 to 92, and claimed the WBO welterweight title in only his 18th professional bout.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis declared on Twitter: “This is what’s wrong with boxing. Horn was very game but I’m hard pressed to see how he could have won that fight by any stretch.”

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers added: “Boxing is a joke, and it proves it again tonight. Are you kidding me with those scorecards?”. NBA legend Kobe Bryant reacted with a gif of a confused-looking Ice Cube.

That such varied athletes, saw fit to comment on the result at Suncorp Stadium is concerning for the sport in general, still bruised from questionable judges calls in the past; not to mention the non-event that Mayweather-Pacquiao was.

In a year where boxing has slowly rebuilt its prestige with Anthony Joshua’s iconic victory over Wladimir Klitschko and the countdown to Canelo Alvarez v Gennady Golovkin, this wasn’t welcome.

Especially with the farce that will be Conor McGregor v Floyd Mayweather on the horizon. Maybe it was Horn’s ultra-aggresive style which swayed the judges as the Brisbane-native did throw 625 punches, – albeit with just 15 per cent of then – while Pacquiao looked a distinctly slower and less fluid version of his former self unable to put the challenger down when he was on top of the fight during rounds nine and 10.

As trainer Teddy Atlas said on ESPN: “They gave a trophy, a win, a huge win to Horn, the local kid for trying hard. You’re supposed to get it for winning!”

Horn’s best win had come against faded former world titlist Randall Bailey and it was believed facing Pacquiao would prove too much of a step up. It was a notion Horn, who worked as a substitute teacher in the early stages of his career, was keen to disprove as he showed his aggression early on.

Pacquiao opened up a cut over Horn’s left eye in the third round but the Filipino was left bloodied himself following accidental clashes of heads in the sixth and seventh rounds.

Pacquiao launched a savage counterattack in the ninth round and appeared to have Horn in trouble with some massive blows that left the Australian staggering. “The ref came over and said ‘show me something or I’ll stop the fight’,” Horn said.

“I thought, ‘hang on, hold your horses, I’m not that bad, I can keep going for sure’.” Horn recovered and came out strongly in the 10th, finishing the better of the two and earning the points from the judges. “That was just my heart that kept me going.”

Pacquiao has now lost four of his last nine fights and this latest setback could signal the end of his career, with trainer Freddie Roach saying in the build-up he would encourage his charge to retire if he was beaten.

Pacquiao didn’t hold a press conference, claiming he needed treatment on his head wounds. He did, though, speak briefly in the ring.

“That’s the decision of the judges. I respect that,” he said. “We have a rematch clause, so no problem.” Horn, meanwhile, has his sights set on Mayweather and a debut appearance in Las Vegas.

“This is just having a bit of a dig overseas to Floyd Mayweather, but this is no joke,” said Horn, as he hoisted a cane and joked about Mayweather being 11 years older.

“Which one does he want, the walking stick or the gloves? Come have a real fight. It is definitely a dream to fight in Vegas.”

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