One of Manny Pacquiao’s early victories in the Philippines is suddenly tainted.
Referee Carlos Padilla, a Filipino, recently said on the WBC’s YouTube channel that he gave his countryman a long count after he went down against unbeaten Australian Nedal Hussein in 2000.
Pacquiao went down in Round 4 but beat the count and went on to score a 10th-round technical knockout. Three fights later he upset Lehlo Ledwaba in Las Vegas, his springboard to superstardom.
Padilla said, per Bloody Elbow: “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.’ 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.”
Hussein wasn’t happy to learn of Padilla’s comments. He also wasn’t surprised.
“Honestly, after watching the referee video, it really hit a nerve,” he told Boxing News. “I was upset for a full 24 hours. It’s not the fact that he said what he said. It’s more because we already knew it. But the way he said it with a smirk and a smile like he was proud of what he had done, like the depth of corruption, it’s obviously in his veins and his heart.
“So he had obviously done it before because it was nothing to him.”
Boxing Junkie timed the knockdown from the above video. He was on the canvas for almost exactly 10 seconds, meaning he could’ve been counted out depending on when Padilla began the count.
Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) put together a Hall of Fame career. Hussein (43-5, 27 KOs) never won a major title.