Prime Minister Hun Sen placed himself firmly in the corner of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao on Monday, spending about 15 minutes of a speech talking about the injustice of Saturday night’s unanimous decision to score what was billed as the “fight of the century” in favor of U.S. fighter Floyd Mayweather.
The prime minister, an avid sports fan, suggested that Mr. Mayweather only won the fight because it was staged on U.S. soil and scored by U.S. judges, claiming that Mr. Pacquiao threw far more punches than his opponent.
“Yesterday, those of us watching couldn’t give a point for Floyd, but the three judges unanimously decided that Floyd won,” Mr. Hun Sen said during the ground-breaking ceremony of National Road 55 in Pursat province.
“I send a message to American judges to provide an explanation for why Floyd won,” he said. “Floyd was just running around—blocking and avoiding—while Pacquiao repeatedly threw more and more punches, punching him to lie against the ropes.”
Mr. Hun Sen said he placed a $5,000 bet on the match, but said he would not pay up in protest of the decision.
“Now if we are talking about yesterday’s fight, I owe you, but I will not pay,” he said, suggesting that a potential rematch between the two boxers be fought in China to avoid U.S. influence.
“I didn’t expect that American judges would be so weak,” he said. “I just know America clearly now. Judges made a unanimous decision to make a winner become a loser.”
The prime minister—striking a chord of solidarity with frustrated Filipinos—said that the only way that the judges would have scored the fight in Mr. Pacquiao’s favor would have been if Mr. Mayweather had died in the ring.
“Now [I] hear voices of Filipino brothers and sisters who want a rematch,” he said. “Fighting on their land, they would not allow us to win unless Floyd was beaten to death.”
During the fight, which was the top-grossing event in boxing history with revenue expected to exceed $400 million, Mr. Hun Sen said that he was attending the wedding of a relative of Deputy Prime Minister Bin Chhin.
The prime minister described a conversation between a number of CPP stalwarts at the wedding, including Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, National Assembly President Heng Samrin and Constitutional Council President Ek Sam Ol.
“When it reached the 10th round, I said to brother Heng Samrin and brother Ek Sam Ol, ‘Right now if Floyd cannot knock Pacquiao out, it means he will lose on points,’” Mr. Hun Sen said.
“At that time, Sok An said: ‘Be careful, Floyd attacks in the last round.’”
However, neither Mr. Pacquiao nor Mr. Mayweather provided any late-match excitement, with the U.S. fighter deftly avoiding the increasingly erratic punches of his Filipino opponent.
Mr. Hun Sen was far from alone in his disappointment following the much-anticipated fight, with Mr. Mayweather drawing criticism for his calculated style of boxing, using quick feet and a precise left jab punch to defeat Mr. Pacquiao.
Minutes after the fight finished, the Filipino fighter said the outcome was unjust, despite Mr. Mayweather landing 148 punches, compared to 81 for Mr. Pacquiao.
“I thought I won the fight,” Mr. Pacquiao said in the post-fight interview. “He didn’t do nothing.”
Mr. Hun Sen reassured Mr. Pacquiao on Monday that the loss was not his fault.
“Pacquiao doesn’t need to get disappointed because it’s an injustice created by judges,” he said. “If I were Floyd, I would consider [the match] a draw.”