A retired boxing referee’s supposed cheating triggered a review and a backlash to his otherwise storied career in the boxing industry.
Carlos Padilla, a renowned Filipino boxing referee, disclosed in an interview that he knowingly aided the win of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao in his bout against Australia’s Nedal Hussein way back on Oct.10, 2000.
At that time, Pacquiao was defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight title against Hussein.
The match also happened in the Philippines—at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.
After the 10th round, Pacquiao was declared the winner by technical knockout (TKO). Hussein was deemed unfit to continue fighting because of a cut under his left eye.
Padilla’s casual admission
Padilla bared his stories of supposedly helping Pacquiao win in an interview with the WBC during his induction to the prestigious Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.
The video interview was uploaded on WBC’s YouTube channel on October 6.
It was picked up and reported by media outlets last Tuesday.
In the video, Padilla recalled the moment when he supposedly started doing his plan that paved the way for Pacquiao’s victory.
“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,’” he was quoted in a report as saying.
The veteran referee then recalled having committed two wrongdoings—administering a mandatory eight-count that is longer than usual and classifying the head clash that caused Hussein’s left-eye wound as a punch instead of a head butt.
Both instances were crucial to the chain of events in the match that supposedly led Pacquiao to defend his title.
How the public reacted
Several Filipinos expressed shock and disappointment over Padilla’s apparent confession.
“Mawawalan ka ng kredibilidad sir…kahit anong gawin mong talk,” one Facebook user said.
“Parang gusto niya kasi sabihin na kung di niya yun ginawa di magiging successful si Pacquiao. Nag-backfire sa [kanya] ngayon,” another user commented.
Other Filipinos called for Padilla’s removal from the prestigious Hall of Fame.
“Wala nang magagawa sa nakaraan decision, ang mangyayari diyan tanggalin sa kanya ang hall of fame bilang referee,” one Facebook user said.
Reactions from personalities involved
Suzy Padilla Tuano
Despite the interview being conducted in October, the recent criticisms Padilla received due to his revelations prompted his daughter Suzy Padilla Tuano to write a letter to his defense.
The letter was addressed to the boxing community and the world.
WBC published a copy of it on its website.
In the letter, Tuano said that her father at 88 years old is already “old and aging.”
She also noted that English is still her father’s second language, thus some remarks and comments he made can be misinterpreted and taken out of context.
“Communications can be misconstrued, and well-intentioned words can be misinterpreted. The present situation is one such glaring example of what might have actually been said (no pun intended) and what might have been taken out of context,” Tuano wrote.
The younger Padilla further described her father as a decent and honorable man who dedicated his life to boxing and cared for the boxers in the ring.
In a statement on November 30, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said that the council received Tuano’s letter which messages the formerly expressed empathy with.
“The letter is self-explanatory and I, as President of The WBC, as well as a human being who has known Mr. Padilla since I was 10 years old, I can certainly empathize with Suzy and the contents of her letter to the boxing Community,” Sulaiman said.
He then announced that the council has established a special panel to review the situation.
“I will personally follow the process in the meantime, The WBC will not make any further public comments,” Sulaiman said.
In an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday, December 1, Hussein called for Padilla’s removal from the Hall of Justice.
The 45-year-old professional boxer further described the latter as a “criminal” because of his confession.
“Carlos Padilla is nothing more than a criminal. That’s what he is. He did a criminal act. He violated and manipulated the rules,” he was quoted in a report as saying.
Hussein also said that the WBC and other people involved in “the fix” that happened before should also be held accountable.
“I’m not claiming that I’m the winner, that I want the decision to be reversed. Manny is a victim in this as well. All I want is for the referees and judges to be held accountable for what they do,” he said.
In a separate interview, Pacquiao removed himself from the issue, citing he was only doing his job as a boxer at that time.
“Ako naman boxer lang ako. Ginagawa ko lang yung trabaho ko sa taas ng ring. That’s his problem, not mine,” he was quoted in a report as saying.
The multi-awarded boxer stressed there was no cheating.
“Hindi man daya. Pinaburan lang tayo, pabor lang siguro syempre home court. As a boxer ginawa ko lang naman yung tama,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao is currently training for an exhibition fight against a South Korean YouTuber in December.