Manny Pacquiao cemented his legacy as one of the greatest to ever step foot in the boxing ring and is the biggest icon in his native Philippines.
However, just a year following his official retirement from the sport in 2021, it would appear as though a potential stain on his illustrious mark on boxing is up for question.
Former boxing referee Carlos Padilla, who officiated the fight between Pacquiao and fellow ex-boxer Nedal Hussein for the WBC International super bantamweight championship back on Oct. 14, 2000, made a jaw-dropping admission of guilt 22 years later.
“They told me, ‘Carlos, please,'” Padilla said, per video courtesy of FOX’s Mark Ortega. “… 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. … 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. I am Filipino, and everybody watching the fight is Filipino, so I prolonged the count. I know how to do it.”
Hussein, who proceeded to lose the fight by way of knockout — Pacquiao’s 10th career TKO at the time — caught wind of Padilla’s claims and admitted that the video “really hit a nerve” when speaking with World Boxing News.
“Honestly, after watching the referee video, it really hit a nerve,” Hussein said. “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 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.”
Pacquiao, now 43 and both a retired boxer and Senator of the Philippines, proceeded to win 62 fights throughout his career, including 39 by knockout while also finishing with a winning record in 11 different weight classes. Pacquiao still remains the only boxer to ever win a world title in four different decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s).