The boxing body responsible for Sunday’s upset bout, which saw welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao lose his belt to underdog challenger Jeff Horn, will review the fight, it said Thursday.
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) has agreed to review the officiating of Sunday’s welterweight title fight in Brisbane after cries of protest from boxing fans and industry figures, and a formal request from the Philippines’ Games and Amusement Board (GAB) — a request backed by the losing fighter.
In a letter addressed to the GAB, the WBO agreed that it would appoint a review panel to watch the bout, round-by-round.
“We will appoint five (5) anonymous competent Judges from different countries to watch the bout without sound distraction,” the letter said.
“Then, we will tabulate the results to ascertain clearly which rounds each fighter won using an average scale based on 60, 80 and 100 per cent. This means that 3 of the 5 officials have to agree to determine which fighter won the round.”
The WBO has repeatedly said that it doesn’t have the power to reverse the decision of the three judges, who unanimously awarded the fight to Horn, 117-111, 115-113, 115-113.
It does, however, state that the fight had a rematch clause in the contract, teasing the possibility that the two boxers may meet again, giving Pacquiao a chance for redemption.
The methodology was reproduced in a Facebook post on the WBO’s page.
In his statement, Pacquiao said he accepted the decision “but as a leader and (a) fighter I have the moral obligation to uphold sportsmanship, truth and fairness in the eyes of the public.”
The GAB’s letter said it also that it did not contest the result.
“I love boxing and I don’t wanna see it dying because of unfair decision and officiating,” added Pacquiao.
The result has been called one of the greatest upsets in the sport’s history. In his prime, the Filipino boxer, (59-7-2, 38 KOs), was considered by Ring magazine to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
It sparked a flurry of social media protest from boxing luminaries and fans alike, who perceived a bias towards the Australian fighter in both refereeing calls and the ultimate decision of the judges.
Despite the outcry over the decision, Pacquiao was gracious in defeat.
“I didn’t expect [him to be] that tough,” he said after the fight. “It’s OK. Part of the game. That’s the decision of the judges. I respect that.”
Before the bout, few thought Horn could take down the 38-year-old Pacquiao, whose last fight and win was against American Jessie Vargas in November 2016.