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Thu Apr 17 17:26:53 SAST 2014

WBO ruling restores faith in boxing, says Pacquiao

Sapa-AFP | 21 June, 2012 11:480 Comments
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines reacts after losing his WBO welterweight title fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. of the U.S. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada June 9, 2012
Image by: Steve Marcus / REUTERS

Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao said Thursday that a WBO panel ruling that he had won his controversial bout against Timothy Bradley would help restore people’s faith in the sport.

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) on its website Thursday said all five members of a special panel it asked to review the controversial June 9 Las Vegas bout scored it in favour of Pacquiao.

The WBO said it could not overturn the result of the fight or ask Bradley to surrender the belt, but that it could authorise a rematch.

“I hope with this ruling the public’s faith in boxing would be restored,” 33-year-old Pacquiao said by phone from his home in the southern Philippines.

“I was not surprised by the WBO ruling. I knew that I won, so did the whole world. But that is already over and I am now focusing on the next fight.”  He said he and his promoter Bob Arum would discuss his next move in a Los Angeles meeting set for next week, but remained coy on who would be his next opponent.

“We will soon find out who I will fight next,” he said, when asked if he was aiming for a rematch against US fighter Bradley.

Bradley snatched Pacquiao’s welterweight belt via a split decision, with two judges scoring it 115-113 for the American and a third scoring it 115-113 for Pacquiao.

With the win, Bradley snapped Pacquiao’s 15-fight, seven-year winning streak.

The decision sparked outrage in the boxing-crazy Philippines and in the United States, where two senators pushed for the creation of a national boxing commission to regulate the sport.

Arum questioned the competence of the judges and pressed for an inquiry from the Nevada attorney general’s office.

Pacquiao is a social phenomenon in the Philippines, where his status as one of the greatest boxers ever has propelled him to huge riches, a movie career and election to parliament.

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