Afew days ago, the Philippine referee Carlos Padilla raised a scandal, about a fight that is more than 22 years old and that could tarnish the brilliant career of one of his countrymen: Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao, in a fight that at the time had little transcendence, but that could tarnish his brilliant name, because this Thursday, Mauricio Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council (WBC), ordered an investigation of that night of October 14, 2000.
According to Padilla, his actions in the ring helped Manny defeat Nedal Hussein: “I’m Filipino, and everybody saw that fight, so I extended the count,” he said in reference to a fall of the Tagalog fighter during the bout: “I helped Manny Pacquiao with some cheating. I know how to do it.” But he further acknowledged that he prevented Hussein from getting medical attention after a headbutt that he declared as a legal punch.
“I declared it as a punch, but it was a headbutt. I allowed him to continue. As a referee, that’s the best way to do it: simply allow the doctor to stop the fight, without them noticing that it was my fault,” Padilla said.
The beginning of Manny Pacquiao’s career
At the time, Pacquiao was 21 years old and on the rise when he fought the 12-round bout against Hussein for the WBC international bantamweight title.
Following his testimony, the referee’s daughter, Suzy Padilla, sent a letter to the WBC in an attempt to defend her father and argued that his statements were misinterpreted.
However, Sulaiman informed that the body would begin a review of the third man’s performance in the ring:
The WBC’s stance
“The World Boxing Council has established a special panel to review the situation of legendary referee Carlos Padilla regarding some comments during an interview published by the WBC a few days ago,” Sulaiman reported in a statement.
Subsequently, he said he would personally follow up on this case and there would be no further statements. “As president of the WBC, as well as a human being who has known Mr. Padilla since he was 10 years old, I can certainly empathize with Suzy and the content of her letter. I will personally follow the process. The WBC will make no further public comment on the matter.”
“That fight would have changed my life”
Manny Pacquiao, for his part, denied any responsibility, “We didn’t cheat. As a boxer I just did what I had to do. I’m just a boxer. I’m just doing my job inside the ring. That’s their problem, not mine.”
However, Hussein took advantage of the window and told Daily Mail Australia that his career was affected by that defeat which prevented him from aspiring for better opportunities and a better life.
Winning that fight would have changed my life. I missed out on a couple of hundred grand and a world title fight. I would have been able to buy a house and I would have been a lot better off Nedal “Skinny” Hussein.
After that loss, Hussein was left in the dust, with a career with few accomplishments, and he says the loss set him “back four years in what I had been able to accomplish. Honestly, after that, I started to hate the sport.