An official review showed Manny Pacquiao to be the undisputed winner but the Filipino ring icon, feeling vindicated, said he would not accept the welterweight crown the judges had taken from him and given to Timothy Bradley—even if the American gave it back.
Pacquiao would rather that the title be declared vacant by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), which had sanctioned the controversial June 9 bout.
And in a jab at ring judges, Pacquiao said the fight should serve them a lesson.
Pacquiao made the statements after a five-member WBO panel confirmed Thursday what everybody knows—that he was the lopsided winner in his fight with Bradley.
If it’s any consolation to Pacquiao and his fans, Boxrec.com, which chronicles the ring records of all boxers, put a footnote to Bradley’s record: “After a thorough review by five veteran judges commissioned by the WBO, Pacquiao was declared the unanimous decision winner by the panel.”
WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel told RingTV.com that the unanimous decision reached by the review panel of judges wasn’t even close.
In all their scorecards, Pacquiao dominated Bradley—117-111, 117-111, 118-110, 116-112 and, the closest, 115-113.
‘I was vindicated’
Informed of the panel’s decision, Pacquiao told the Philippine Daily Inquirer over the phone he was happy “the findings of the five-man panel of the WBO declared me as the winner. I am happy that in the end I was vindicated.”
The 12-round fight held at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas had shockingly gone Bradley’s way, with judges Duane Ford and CJ Ross scoring it 115-113 for the unbeaten American. Judge Jerry Roth also saw it 115-113, but in Pacquiao’s favor.
Despite the panel’s verdict, however, the WBO won’t reverse the original decision or force Bradley to surrender the crown.
“The only thing that we can do is authorize a rematch,” Valcarcel said. “We cannot go any further than that. That is in our rules.”
‘Truth has come out’
“To me it’s no longer important if the WBO would not overturn the decision of the judges,” Pacquiao said. “The truth has come out and boxing fans got the justice they deserve.”
He said in a radio interview that even if Bradley decided to give him his welterweight belt back, he would not accept it.
Top Rank honcho Bob Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley, was also elated by the result of the review, which was done without the ringside commentaries that accompanied the earlier fight.
“That’s a Solomon-like conclusion,” Arum told RingTV.com. “Paco is a good man, he really is. I have great respect for him and what he says.
“It’s appropriate for him to make that final conclusion.”
Fight with Marquez
Valcarcel, who awarded Pacquiao with a diamond ring symbolic of his selection as Fighter of the Decade two days before the bout, said Bradley’s manager Cameron Dunkin was also furnished the result of the review.
The 80-year-old Arum, however, isn’t too keen about an immediate rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley as it may not be financially viable.
What the Hall of Fame promoter has in mind is a fourth showdown between Pacquiao and the Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez possibly on November 10—and in Mexico.
Pacquiao said he was leaving his options open and would decide by the second and third week of July.
“It’s okay if we [him and Bradley] will have a rematch. Marquez is also in line and so is (Floyd) Mayweather and anybody else my promoter chooses.”
Up to Manny
For Arum, however, the decision rests entirely with Pacquiao.
“My first stop on any quest to determine what to do next is that I have to talk to the guy who is the money generator, and that’s Manny Pacquiao,” Arum said.
“Then I have to determine after discussions with him what he wants to do next and we’ll go from there. Until Manny makes a determination, then I’m like a dog chasing its tail.”
The uproar the dubious decision generated was so loud that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator John McCain proposed legislation calling for the formation of a national boxing commission.
Reid, a Democrat from Nevada who used to fight as an amateur middleweight, while McCain, a Republican from Arizona who used to box when he attended the US Naval Academy, introduced legislation that would create the United States Boxing Commission.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which supervised the June 9 bout that generated nearly $9 million in gate receipts and probably over 900,000 pay-per-view buys (roughly equivalent to $50 million), also intends to review the fight footage with the three judges who rewarded Bradley with the split decision.
WBO challenged: Right wrong
Pacquiao, recently named by Forbes magazine as the world’s second highest-paid athlete (after Floyd Mayweather) with earnings of $62 million last year, said it wasn’t just a victory for him but for boxing fans and his countrymen.
“May this serve as a lesson to the judges,” said Pacquiao. “I just hope this would restore the trust of the people in boxing.”
While Pacquiao, a representative from Sarangani, has accepted the loss of his title, his chief of staff in Congress, lawyer Jeng Gacal, is unsatisfied with what transpired.
“I am challenging the WBO to correct a wrong,” Gacal told the Inquirer.
“They found an injustice and stared at it blankly. They should correct it. They should do what is right and just,” Gacal said. “Otherwise they will be allowing incompetence and (perhaps) corruption to prevail.”
After attending to the needs of his flashflood-ravaged constituents in Sarangani, Pacquiao and wife Jinkee flew to Vigan City on Thursday to attend the birthday celebration of Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.
The Pacquiaos, however, did not use their newly purchased helicopter for the flight to Vigan.
The couple will be returning to the United States on Saturday to rejoin their four children who were left behind and continue their family vacation.
Pacquiao told Vigan reporters: “I am happy that the truth came out. I thank all the people and God.”
Pacquiao said his next opponent had yet to be decided, adding he had yet to talk with Arum about a rematch with Bradley. With reports from Mark Giongco, INQUIRER.net and Leoncio Balbin Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon
Originally posted at 9:32 a.m.