GAB lodges protest with WBO over Pacquiao-Horn officiating
BRISBANE, Australia - The Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the regulatory body for boxing in the Philippines, has lodged a protest with the World Boxing Organization (WBO) asking for a "thorough review" of the judges and referee for the Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn WBO welterweight title fight which took place Sunday, July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
Horn, a significant underdog, emerged the winner on all 3 scorecards by the margins of 115-113 from Ramon Cerdan of Argentina and Chris Flores of Arizona, and 117-111 from New York's Waleska Roldan. Referee Mark Nelson of Minnesota also drew criticism, with some feeling Horn was allowed to get away with roughhousing.
The decision has been hotly disputed in the boxing world, with former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis tweeting of the decision: "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!". New York-based promoter Lou DiBella called the decision "awful", saying "#Boxing loses again."
"We would like to echo the stand of many boxing followers on the possible errors of the referee and the judges who officiated the subject fight," the letter, issued by GAB chairman Abraham "Baham" Mitra and commissioners Eduard Trinidad and Matthew Gaston, and addressed to WBO president Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, reads.
"While we respect the decision, we are constrained to request for a thorough review by the WBO for possible miscalls of the referee where some deductions were not made and of the judges in their judging that have caused varying opinions on their objectivity.
"We are making this request for a review, which may call for sanctions on the referee if so warranted, in furtherance of our mutual goal of protecting the integrity of the sport and even more improving the boxing industry we all love."
An accompanying press release states that Horn "was able to steal the belt from Pacman by a controversial unanimous decision," but adds that the letter "was not necessarily intended to seek for the reversal of the decision."
An email to Valcarcel seeking reaction was not immediately returned.
The Pacquiao camp did not collaborate with the GAB for the protest, Mitra tells Rappler. Paquiao did not complain about the decision afterwards, and Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach says it was a "pretty close fight," adding "it went the other way and we have to live with that."
Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum, who also co-promotes Horn through New Zealand's Duco Events, said afterwards that the fight "could've gone either way" and was not bothered by the verdict.
"Could it have been 7-5 for Manny? Yeah. But you can't argue with the result," Arum said. – Rappler.com