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Arum backs fight judges


PhilBoxing.com




BRISBANE -- Top Rank CEO Bob Arum vouched the other day for the honesty of the three judges in Manny Pacquiao?s loss on points to Jeff Horn and said if they were in any way swayed by the hometown crowd in scoring close rounds for the roughhousing Australian, it?s only because of the human factor.

?You had 40,000 Australian fans and 15,000 Filipino fans in the stadium,? said Arum. ?When Horn landed a punch, the Australian fans were all screaming. When Manny landed, there was virtual silence. If you were a judge, of course, you?d be influenced. You?re only human. But if you think they were dishonest, I wouldn?t agree.? The three judges were Waleska Roldan of New York, Chris Flores of Arizona and Ramon Cerdan of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their decision for Horn was unanimous.

Arum said there were many close rounds that could?ve gone either way. In a hostile setting, the benefit of the doubt wouldn?t usually go to the visiting fighter. It?s called the hometown advantage.

Arum also defended referee Mark Nelson of Minnesota. He exonerated Nelson of biased officiating even if the referee never even gave Horn a warning for repeated elbowing, butting, hitting on the break and head-locking. ?Both guys were doing things,? he said. ?There was a lot of holding by Manny and Jeff.?

Nelson has been a referee since 1992 with over 80 world title fights under his belt. In 1997, he was the third man in the ring when Filipino Eric Jamili halted Mickey Cantwell in the eighth round to capture the vacant WBO minimumweight title in London. Nelson has worked title bouts involving Guillermo Rigondeaux, Joe Calzaghe, Terence Crawford and Diego Corrales. Pacquiao?s conditioning coach Justin Fortune said he would?ve preferred a referee like Tony Weeks or Kenny Bayless or a similar veteran used to working on the big stage.

Arum minced no words in lashing out at ?morons? in Pacquiao?s camp. ?I heard guys in Manny?s camp talking like the only way Manny would lose to Horn is if he trips on the way to the ring,? he said. ?That kind of talk leads to overconfidence. I?ve seen Horn fight before. That guy?s tough and he showed it against Manny. You can?t look beyond someone like Horn.?

Arum confirmed that there is a rematch clause in the contract Pacquiao signed with Horn. Pacquiao?s adviser Michael Koncz, however, said there is no such condition at least in the contract that he negotiated. Arum said if Pacquiao wants a rematch, he?ll arrange it. ?I?m not advocating a rematch,? he said. ?I think Manny can still fight at a high level. But he?s not getting younger. He?s not the same as he was some years back. He?s got more responsibilities now as a Senator. He?s got to think things through in the next few days or weeks. If he still wants to fight, then I?ll support him.?

There seems to be some confusion as to when Pacquiao?s contract with Top Rank will expire. Arum reportedly said it won?t lapse until 2018. A source said the Horn fight was Pacquiao?s last with Arum. But whatever the expiration is, Pacquiao said he won?t leave Arum because of his debt of gratitude.

Arum visited Pacquiao in his dressing room after the fight to check on his condition. Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Roth, who sewed up Pacquiao?s scalp wounds with a total of 15 stitches, is the husband of Arum?s stepdaughter Dena DuBoef.

Pacquiao?s cutman Miguel Diaz, a Hall of Famer from Argentina, said he was disappointed with the outcome. ?I thought Manny won the fight,? he said. ?The referee didn?t control it.? Diaz recalled that Pacquiao faced a fighter who was dirtier than Horn in San Francisco in 2001. Agapito Sanchez of the Dominican Republic didn?t only elbow and butt Pacquiao but also kneed him. Their fight was stopped in the sixth round when referee Marty Denkin ruled Pacquiao unfit to continue because of cuts from two butts. It went to the scorecards and the verdict was a split draw.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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