Nedal Hussein is exploring his legal options after the extraordinary revelations by a referee that he cheated to help Manny Pacquiao win a fight against the Australian 22 years ago.
Boxing referee Carlos Padilla made the stunning confession this week, admitting to giving Pacquiao a slow 10-count after Hussein had knocked him down in round four, which should have resulted in a stoppage victory.
Padilla also ruled a Pacquiao headbutt that caused bleeding over Hussein’s eye as a legal punch, so when the ringside doctor stopped the fight in the 10th round, it was ruled as a technical knockout win for the Filipino, who would go on to become one of the greatest fighters of all time and amass earnings of close to $2 billion.
Hussein was undefeated with a 19-0 record heading into the bout for the WBC International super-bantamweight title in Antipolo, east of Manila, in 2000, and victory over Pacquiao would have changed the trajectory of his career.
“I am getting legal advice,” Hussein told News Corp Australia.
“I want them to declare it a no-contest. I don’t want them to declare me the winner, I’d like a no-contest.
“I can’t see them taking the win off Manny, because at the end of the day we’re dealing with the Filipino board.
“But the WBC could recognise that I didn’t lose the belt on that night. I have been in touch with the WBC, they haven’t replied yet.”
Padilla, who was recently inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, said in an interview posted on the WBC’s YouTube page: “I am a Filipino and everybody is Filipino watching the fight, so I prolong the count. I know how to do it.
“When he get up I said to him ‘hey are you okay?’ – and that’s prolonging the fight,” a smiling Padilla said.
Pacquiao later headbutted Hussein, leaving the Australian with a cut above his left eye.
But Padilla classified the head clash as a “punch”. Pacquiao won by a technical knockout after the doctor stopped the fight due to Hussein’s bleeding.
“I declare it a punch but it’s (a headbutt),” Padilla said, which allowed the fight to continue.
“As a referee, that’s the best way to do – let the doctor stop the fight but they know that it’s my fault.”
A furious Hussein said: “He has come out and confessed to a criminal act.
“My blood pressure was through the roof. My doctor has told me numerous times not to drink coffee because it will raise my blood pressure, but when I watched that I had 15 coffees straight.
“Just the nerve, and the smirk, how he conducted himself – he was laughing. If he said it with a hint of remorse, maybe I could let it go. But he said it with a smirk, like it was meant to happen that way.
“That’s why people don’t go to the Philippines, because they expect to get robbed.
“A win that night would have been huge for my career.
“The referee, that fight, took everything out of me.”
Hussein finished his career with an admirable 43-5 (27KO) record, but never won a major world title.
Had he been given a rightful victory over Pacquiao, he believes he would have gone on to claim the WBC belt.
Ironically, Hussein was trained by Jeff Fenech for the fight, and three weeks ago the WBC retroactively awarded Fenech the super-featherweight title – making him a four-time world champion – after ruling that he should have won his fight against Azumah Nelson that was scored a draw 31 years ago.
Hussein knew Padilla was being biased against him in the ring, but didn’t realise it was deliberate.
“I was so frustrated in that fight because I knew he was doing everything against me, he wouldn’t let me fight on the inside, he didn’t take a point off him for holding and tying me up, but he took a point off me for bumping him off,” Hussein said.
“I knew there was favouritism, but I thought he was just incompetent, I never thought he was cheating.
“The doctor stopped the fight, and I knew my cut wasn’t bad, there wasn’t blood in my eye, I told the doctor ‘I can see normally’. He made a gesture to the ref like the ref knew what was happening.
“So they’ve done this before. This is not trial and error, this is something that’s been done on numerous occasions.
“If I come out and confess to a murder from 20 years ago, I’m still going to be put on trial for it. Why isn’t he being held accountable?”
But Hussein says he holds no ill-will towards Pacquiao.
“None whatsoever, he’s a victim in this as well the poor guy,” Hussein said.
“Every fighter that went to Asia to fight him is going to think they got hard done by because of the officials.”
Originally published as Nedal Hussein demands justice after referee admitted to cheating to help Manny Pacquiao win in 2000