Filipino referee admits to cheating, helping Pacquiao win fight in 2000

Dino Maragay - Philstar.com
Filipino referee admits to cheating, helping Pacquiao win fight in 2000
Carlos Padilla in this screenshot of his interview during his induction to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
Screengrab from WBC's YouTube video

MANILA, Philippines – Boxing icon Manny Pacquiao could have ended up with one more loss in his storied career.

This after renowned referee Carlos Padilla, who officiated Pacquiao’s fight with Australian Nedal Hussein 22 years ago, admitted to knowingly aiding Pacquiao avoid an upset loss.

Pacquiao was defending the WBC international super bantamweight title against Hussein on October 10, 2000 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City in a bout where he was expected to cruise to a win.

But Hussein proved to be a tough customer, knocking Pacquiao down in the fourth round with a short, stinging jab that had him dazed.

It was where Padilla, then already veteran of several high-profile boxing matches, did his dirty work.

“That fight, I’m about to go and leave the following day. They told me, ‘Carlos, please… this is an important fight for Manny Pacquiao because the winner will have the chance to fight for the world championship,'” Padilla recounted in a recent interview during his induction to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, a video of which has been posted by the World Boxing Council on its YouTube channel.

“So, you know the opponent, Hussein, or whatever his name was. He is taller, younger, stronger, and [a] dirty fighter, managed by Jeff Fenech.

“So in the seventh round [it was the fourth], I think, Manny got knocked down. I thought he was going to get up, but his eyes were cross-eyed,” he continued.

Padilla then said he administered the mandatory eight-count — a standard practice when a boxer is knocked down — longer than usual, which gave Pacquiao the chance to beat it and eventually recover.

“I’m Filipino, and everybody watching the fight is Filipino, so I prolonged the count. I know how to do it. When he got up, I told him, ‘Hey, are you okay?’ Still prolonging the fight. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Okay, fight!’” Padilla said.

“Then Hussein, because Manny was not like Manny is now, and he wasn’t trained by Freddie Roach yet, he holds on for his dear life. The guy throws him, and he goes down again.

“I said to the opponent, ‘Hey, you don’t do this.’ You know, I was prolonging the fight. ‘You don’t do that. Okay, judges, [point] deduction [for throwing an elbow].'”

Padilla then admitted to another wrongdoing when he declared an ugly cut under Nadal’s left eye as being caused by a Pacquiao punch instead of a head butt — which is crucial in boxing as gashes caused by legal blows will result in a TKO win for the fighter who dealt it if the fight gets stopped by the doctor.

“Because he [Pacquiao] is shorter, he head-butted the other guy. There is a cut, but I declared it a punch,” Padilla continued.

“If there is a head butt, you have to stop the fight and declare to the judges a point deduction. But I didn’t do that, meaning the fight could continue.”

Pacquiao indeed ended up being declared winner by TKO in the 10th round after the ringside doctor deemed Hussein unfit to continue because of the cut.

‘Upset for full 24 hours’

Hussein got wind of Padilla’s revelations and expressed his disappointment.

“Honestly, after watching the referee video, it really hit a nerve. I was upset for a full 24 hours,” Hussein said in a report by World Boxing News.

“It’s not the fact that he said what he said. It’s more because we already knew it. But the way he said it with a smirk and a smile like he was proud of what he had done, like the depth of corruption, it’s obviously in his veins and his heart,” added Hussein, who moved on from the incident, winning several regional titles but not a single world championship.

The 88-year-old Padilla, a former actor, shot to boxing fame when he served as the third man in the ring during the historic “Thrilla in Manila” heavyweight fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that was held at the Araneta Coliseum in 1975.

He went on to officiate many major bouts, and the Pacquiao-Hussein bout was his last.

Pacquiao, for his part, continued his path to greatness with a record eight world titles in as many divisions. He hasn’t completely closed the book on his boxing career, returning on December 11 with an exhibition fight with Korean YouTuber DK Yoo in Seoul.

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