Friday, March 31, 2023  |


Manny Pacquiao feels he was ‘set up’ in Jeff Horn fight

Photo by Jono Searle/Bradley Kanaris Photography
Fighters Network

SYDNEY, Australia – In the aftermath of his disputed points loss to Jeff Horn, Manny Pacquiao says believes he was “set up” in Brisbane, Australia.

“We led by four or five rounds over him…That why I felt I was set up,” Pacquiao said in Tagalog in a video that aired on ABS-CBN. Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 knockouts) was speaking to reporters aboard a chartered flight from Australia’s Gold Coast to his home of General Santos City, Philippines following a unanimous decision loss to Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) on Sunday (Saturday in the United States) which has been panned widely by reporters and sports personalities.

Pacquiao did not protest the decision in the immediate aftermath, telling an in-ring interviewer afterward, “That’s the decision of the judges; I respect that.” Pacquiao did not attend the post-fight press conference – the first time he had not done so since his 2012 knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez – as he got stitched up after suffering a pair of cuts high on his scalp. Shortly after, he began openly criticizing both the judging and officiating.

“We won the fight,” Pacquiao was quoted by Philippine Star. “It’s clear, even if you review the fight.”

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has said he thought Pacquiao won but wasn’t calling it a robbery, saying he could see it as a close decision win for either fighter. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach called it a “pretty close fight” and lamented Pacquiao’s inability to finish off Horn following a one-sided ninth round.

“The wrestling, getting hit behind the head a lot, it didn’t look good but the referee didn’t pay any attention to it,” said Roach of referee Mark Nelson.

“I don’t want the referee to favor me. I want the treatment for me (and Horn) to be the same. If I lost, I lost; if I won I won,” said Pacquiao. Pacquiao was quoted by Manila Bulletin as saying the referee “wasn’t competent” and described the judging as “horrible.”

Despite the controversy surrounding the decision, Roach says he will discuss the possibility of retirement for the 38-year-old Pacquiao, a 22-year ring veteran. Pacquiao also says he’ll “think hard” about hanging up the gloves after resting.

When asked whether the loss had anything to do with his soon-to-expire contract with Top Rank, which will now co-promote Horn with Duco Events, Pacquiao said, “Let’s not think about that.”

A text message to Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz seeking clarification on Pacquiao’s contract situation was not returned by the time of this story’s publication.

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