WBC probes Ref’s claims of influencing Pacquiao’s title fight

The World Boxing Council is looking into claims by former referee Carlos Padilla that he influenced the outcome of an early Manny Pacquiao title fight.

Padilla, now 88, said he prolonged a count to help fellow Filipino Pacquiao beat Nedal Hussein to defend his WBC International super-bantamweight title in Manila in 2000.

He also said he overlooked a head-butt from Pacquiao which opened a cut above Hussein’s left eye and led to the fight being stopped on medical grounds.

Pacquiao won via TKO and went on to become a five-weight world champion.

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told BBC Sport: “The WBC has appointed a committee to look into this matter and we will be working on this situation with full attention.”

Padilla, who refereed Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier’s infamous ‘Thrilla in Manila’ fight in 1975, made the claims in an interview on the WBC website to mark his induction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in September.

Padilla said he was told before taking the Hussein bout that it was an “important fight” for Pacquiao’s career.

Pacquiao, then 21, went on to defend the belt two more times before beating South Africa’s Lehlo Ledwaba in 2001 to claim the IBF super-bantamweight title.

“Manny is not a super-bantamweight world champion yet. He was only a god in the Philippines,” said Padilla.

“They told me ‘Carlos, please, this is an important fight for Manny because the winner will have a chance to fight for the world championship’.”

Padilla said he stepped in after Pacquiao was knocked down in the fourth round.

“I am a Filipino and everybody is a Filipino watching the fight,” Padilla said. “So I prolonged the count. I know how to do it. When he gets up I say to him ‘Hey, are you OK?’ which is prolonging the fight.”

Pacquiao was knocked down again later in the round, but Australian Hussein was deducted a point for an elbow and Padilla said he allowed Pacquiao more recovery time.

Hussein was declared unfit to continue in the 10th round because of a cut, which Padilla said was caused by a head-butt from Pacquiao.

Padilla said he delayed medical treatment for Hussein then attempted to influence the ringside doctor’s decision to have the fight stopped.

Hussein, who was 22 at the time and unbeaten in 19 fights, told Fox Sports that he has “never been the same since” the defeat.

Hussein, who now runs a gym in Sydney, won his next 17 fights before losing on points to Mexico’s WBC world super-bantamweight champion Oscar Larios in his first world title fight in 2004.

He lost on points to Scotland’s Scott Harrison in 2005 when fighting for the WBO world featherweight title.

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