Now this one is controversial. Filipino referee Carlos Padilla has come out and admitted that he purposely gave Manny Pacquiao an 18-second count when the emerging star was dropped heavily by Australian fighter Nedal Hussein in October of 2000.
Pacquiao was knocked down in the fourth round of the fight that saw Pac Man defend the WBC international super-bantamweight title, and replays show that, yes, the future legend was given approximately 18 seconds of time from the knockdown and the fight resuming. Pacquiao recovered, and he went on to score a 10th-round TKO over Hussein.
But now, all these years later, Padilla has caused a real sensation by admitting to prolonging the count this because he was told before the fight that it was “really important” for the hugely promising Pacquiao to win.
Speaking on the WBC’s official YouTube channel, Padilla said that he did give Pacquiao a longer count and that he “knows how to do it.”
“That fight, I’m about to go and leave the following day, and 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,’” Padilla said.
“So, you know the opponent, Hussein, or whatever his name was. He is taller, younger, stronger, and [a] dirty fighter, managed by Jeff Fenech. So in the seventh round, I think, Manny got knocked down, I thought he was going to get up, but his eyes were cross-eyed (laughs). I am Filipino, and everybody watching the fight is Filipino, so I prolonged the count. I know how to do it.
“When he got up, I told him, ‘Hey, are you okay?’ Still prolonging the fight. ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Okay, fight!’ and then Hussein……because Manny was not like Manny is now, he wasn’t trained by Freddie Roach yet, he holds on for his dear life, and the guy throws him, and he went down again. I said to the opponent, ‘Hey, you don’t do this.’ You know, I was prolonging the fight. ‘You don’t do that. Okay, judges, [point] deduction.’”
Simply shocking stuff from the referee who made his name as the third man in the ring for the epic “Thrilla in Manila.” But there is more to come. Padilla went on to say how the butt Pacquiao hit Hussein with, this stopping the fight as Hussein was cut, should not have stopped the fight.
“Because he (Pacquiao) is shorter, he headbutted the other guy, and there is a cut, but I declared it a punch,” Padilla said. “ If there is a headbutt, you have to stop the fight and declare to the judges a point deduction, but I didn’t do that, meaning the fight could continue.”
No wonder Hussein has taken to social media to call Padilla a “putrid dog.” How different things would be had Manny Pacquiao been counted out in the Hussein fight. Again, this is shocking stuff from Padilla, and it will be interesting to see what it is that Manny has to say about this matter.
There seems little chance of the fight’s result being changed now, yet recently we did see the Jeff Fenech-Azumah Nelson drawn fight from 1991 have it’s official result changed. Might the WBC look into giving Nedal Hussein the kind of justice he has always claimed he was robbed of all those years ago?
And in light of what Padilla has come out and said, will Pacquiao’s legacy as one of the greatest fighters ever suffer somewhat, even just a little bit, in the eyes of some fans?