MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao on Sunday asked his fans and supporters not to blame unbeaten fighter Timothy Bradley Jr. for the controversial result of their bout last June 9 in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion when Bradley was given a shocking split decision victory, which has since been roundly criticized by boxing media and fans alike.
But in a press conference in his hometown of General Santos City, Pacquiao told his supporters that Bradley should not be blamed for the controversial decision.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi naman kasalanan ni Bradley na nangyari ‘yung ganon,” said Pacquiao, who returned to General Santos City to lead the relief efforts in Sarangani, which was hit by Typhoon "Butchoy' last week.
“Sa kanya s’yempre, kung anong desisyon, naghintay lang s’ya. Boksingero lang din s’ya,” he added.
Two judges, CJ Ross and Duane Ford, gave Bradley the fight with scores of 115-113, while Jerry Roth had the same score in Pacquiao’s favor.
“Kung may kasalanan man duon, kung may pagkakamali, ay ‘yung dalawang judges,” Pacquiao said, referring to Ross and Ford. “Pero hindi talaga si Bradley.”
Still, Pacquiao admitted that he did not expect the result, saying he thought the fight was “one-sided” in his favor.
Indeed, Pacquiao said he was just playing around in the final three rounds.
“Actually last three rounds, habang umaakap si Bradley sa akin, kinikindatan ko ‘yung commentators ng HBO. Naglalaro na lang ako dahil alam ko na panalong-panalo na ako,” he said.
He also expressed his frustration that Bradley elected to run instead of fighting toe-to-toe with him, something the American boxer promised to do in the weeks leading up to the fight.
“Ine-expect ko sa kanya, kasi lagi n’yang sinasabi sa news na papasok s’ya ng papasok sa akin, makikipaglaban s’ya sa akin ng palitan ng mga suntok. ‘Yun ang ine-expect ko,” Pacquiao said.
“Sa lahat ng mga laban na napanood ko sa kanya, palagi s’yang sugod ng sugod tapos nakikipagpalitan s’ya ng suntok,” he added.
“One that time, takbo na lang s’ya ng takbo. Atras ng atras.”
Bradley explained that he had to change his fight plan in the middle of the fight after suffering an ankle injury as early as the second round.
The Pacquiao-Bradley bout is curently being reviewed by the Nevada Attorney General’s office, the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the WBO.
“Kung baguhin man nila ‘yung desisyon, mas mabuti pa ‘yung belt na ‘yun ay i-bakante na lang, walang champion d’yan,” Pacquiao said about the investigation.
He added that for him, the case was already closed, but he understands why there is a need for an investigation.
“Ginagawa lang nila ‘yun para hindi masira ang pangalan ng boxing,” he said, explaining that a lot of people have told him that they want to stop watching the sport after what happened in his fight.
“’Yung ibang mga tao sinasabi nila na ayaw nilang manood ng boxing dahil ganoon pala ‘yun. Nadidismaya sila,” Pacquiao said.
The champion said that the investigation will help in regaining the fans’ trust and support towards boxing.
Pacquiao also thanked the Filipinos for their support in the aftermath of his loss, admitting that he did not expect such a widespread reaction.
“Napanood ko sila sa TV, napanood ko ‘yung mga kababayan natin kung paano sila nag-react pagkatapos ng fight,” he said.
A Pacquiao-Bradley rematch may happen in November, though Pacquiao said he is also open to fighting rival Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time, as well as a much-awaited encounter with unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather Jr.