MANILA, Philippines – HBO commentator Jim Lampley came under fire for comparing Manny Pacquiao’s knockout loss to Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez to the typhoon that devastated southern Philippines this December.
Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth encounter last Saturday in Las Vegas. It was a devastating defeat for the Pacman, who badly wanted a victory for the people of Mindanao who were affected by Typhoon Pablo.
Lampley, a veteran sportscaster, compared Marquez’s knockout punch to the typhoon, which killed 647 people while 780 remain missing.
“The tsunami that hit the Philippines was just replicated by Marquez,” Lampley said.
World super bantamweight champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was among those who found Lampley’s call offensive.
“I am utterly disappointed by the classless comment of Mr. Jim Lampley,” Donaire said in a Facebook post Monday. “It was unprofessional to compare the Philippine calamity, which cost countless lives, to a boxing knockout.”
“I am hoping this was just a lack of judgment on his part, but an apology is still warranted to the Philippines. PS: It was a typhoon, not a tsunami,” he added.
Donaire also addressed the “insensitive people” who claimed that Filipinos were just whining about Pacquiao’s loss.
“Why didn’t Lampley compare it to the calamity of Hurricane Sandy that hit the East Coast? Too close to home? ... No calamity should be compared to a sports match,” he said.
Lampley later released a statement on USA Today apologizing for the call he made.
“Last night’s comment was in no way intended to belittle or dismiss the grave severity of the typhoon’s effects or the humanity of the victims,” Lampley said. “We all now the difference between a boxing match and an event of cataclysmic human suffering.”
“To anyone who was discomfited by the metaphorical comparison I offer my sincere and heartfelt apology. No disrespect was in any way intended,” he added.
Filipinos were stunned by Pacquiao’s loss, which was his first stoppage defeat since 1999. It was also his second straight loss after dropping a decision to Timothy Bradley last June.
In New Bataan, Compostela Valley, victims of Typhoon Pablo felt even worse after watching their boxing idol get knocked out.
“Tila parang lalo pang nalungkot ang marami sa kanila sa pagkatalo ng boxing champ,” ABS-CBN News' Ron Gagalac said in a report to "Umagang Kay Ganda." “Gayunman mahal pa rin naman daw nila si Pacquiao at magtutuloy-tuloy ang kanilang buhay.”