Referee admits to cheating in Manny Pacquiao title fight (VIDEO)
Retired boxing referee Carlos Padilla has admitted to bending the sport’s rules to give his fellow Filipino Manny Pacquiao an advantage in a world title fight against Australia’s Nedal ‘Skinny’ Hussein in a bout to contest the WBC International super-bantamweight title in the Philippines in 2000.
Pacquiao, who was just 21-years-old at the time, was considered by many to be among boxing's biggest prospects and had held the WBC title for ten months when he stepped into the ring with Hussein.
However, the future icon of the sport was knocked down in the fourth round – and Padilla has admitted to “prolonging” the standard ten-count in the fight to give his compatriot more time to recover.
“I am a Filipino and everybody is Filipino watching the fight, so I prolong the count. I know how to do it,” Padilla, 88, said in an interview posted to the WBC YouTube channel.
“When he get up I said to him ‘hey are you okay?’ – and that’s prolonging the fight,” he added.
The former referee, who officiated the legendary ‘Thrilla in Manila’ between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1975, also added that he classified an accidental headbutt by Pacquaio as a punch, even despite Hussein suffering a badly cut left eye following the incident.
“I declare it a punch but it’s [a headbutt],” he said.
“As a referee, that’s the best way to do – let the doctor stop the fight but they know that it’s my fault.”
Pacquiao was declared the victor of the fight by technical knockout after doctors were unable to stop the bleeding surrounding Hussein's eye following the illegal blow. It was the first defeat of Hussein’s professional career.
Hussein has reacted to the comments online, referring to Padilla as a “putrid dog” and said that the WBC “should be ashamed for what they do to fighters.”
Pacquiao, 43, officially retired from boxing last year but is due to make a comeback to the ring in December to take on a South Korean YouTube personality.
The Filipino icon has not yet commented on Padilla’s revelations.