PACQUIAO PROTEST REJECTED

MANILA, May 15, 2004
 
(STAR)
This one should hurt Manny Pacquiao and his millions of fans more than what IBF/WBA champion Juan Manuel Marquez inflicted on the Filipino fighter during their controversial featherweight clash at the MGM Grand over the weekend.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Thursday flatly rejected a protest lodged by Team Pacquiao over last Saturday’s fight with Marquez, dashing whatever hopes the Filipino boxing champion had in seeking for a possible reversal of the split draw decision.

"While I understand your client’s disappointment with the outcome of the bout, there is no action that the Nevada Athletic Commission (the "Commission") can or will take. A review of Nevada law will inform you that there is no protest procedure to challenge or overturn a decision rendered in a boxing match based on the allegations made in your letter," said Attorney General Brian Sandoval in his letter to Lamont Jones, who represented Pacquiao and M&M Sports.

Pacquiao’s US promoter Murad Muhammad, who flew in with Team Pacquiao Thursday morning, had earlier filed a protest urging the Nevada Athletic Commission to correct judge Burt Clements’ scoring error that decided the outcome of the highly-rated fight in Las Vegas.

Muhammad said it is within commission executive director Marc Ratner’s jurisdiction to correct the error. He described the blunder as technical and mathematical. Clements, who represented the commission in the three-man jury, is from Reno, Nevada.

The other judges were Gut Jutras of the World Boxing Association (WBA) and John Stewart of the International Boxing Federation (IBF). Marquez retained his WBA and IBF featherweight titles by virtue of a split 12-round draw.

Clements later confessed he made a mistake in scoring 10-7, instead of 10-6, for Pacquiao in the first round where Marquez was decked thrice. Had Ratner corrected the error, Clements’ scorecard will tally 113-112 for Pacquiao and the Filipino will win by split decision.

"To our knowledge, Mr. Clements never said that he thought "that Nevada’s rules and customs prohibit judges from issuing a 10-6 score." In fact, you claim that Mr. Clements allegedly said to Commission executive director Marc Ratner, "You don’t like 10-6s, right?" That is not the same as saying, "You don’t allow 10-6s, right?" A judge’s subjective feelings about the appropriateness of 10-6 rounds are part of his judgment, and as you rightfully state, "the Commission will not question the discretion of its judges in scoring matters" as a basis for changing a decision," Sandoval said.

Moreover, Sandoval stressed that contrary to the allegations in the protest letter, Mr. Clements never "asked the Commission to correct the error during the bout" or "took other action [to] amend his scorecard." In fact, NAC 467.605(2) requires the referee to "pick up the scorecard from each judge and turn in the scorecards at the commission’s desk before the start of each round" and NAC 467.612(1)(d) provides that "points for each round must be awarded immediately after the end of the period of unarmed combat in the round." — Dante Navarro


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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