Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia took fifteen minutes out of an address to commemorate the opening of a road to condemn American boxing judges and cry foul over Manny Pacquiao’s defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather this past weekend, insisting he would not honor a technically illegal bet he made on the fight because it was rigged.
The Cambodia Daily reports that Sen spent “about 15 minutes” of the speech on Mayweather-Pacquiao, the most profitable fight in the history of boxing. “Yesterday, those of us watching couldn’t give a point for Floyd, but the three judges unanimously decided that Floyd won,” Sen lamented during the ground-breaking ceremony of National Road 55 in Pursat, Cambodia. “I send a message to American judges to provide an explanation for why Floyd won. … Floyd was just running around—blocking and avoiding—while Pacquiao repeatedly threw more and more punches, punching him to lie against the ropes,” he added.
Speaking to an unnamed official, Sen asserted, “Now if we are talking about yesterday’s fight, I owe you, but I will not pay.” He owes the official $5,000. He concluded by calling American judges “weak” and encouraging Pacquiao not to be “disappointed.”
The Phnom Penh Post notes that a spokesman for the United States embassy declined to comment on Sen’s statements.
In addition to being somewhat of a surprise, given the unrelated nature of the fight to the ground-breaking ceremony, the Agence France-Presse adds that gambling is illegal in Cambodia outside of casinos, which makes Sen’s speech an admission of criminal activity. The AFP notes that there is, nonetheless, “a thriving black market for betting on everything from the English Premier League to local cock fights.” Sen is not expected to face any retribution for the bet, however, as he is considered a strongman in a totalitarian state. The laws are also not especially strongly enforced against average Cambodians, and as such, it is highly unlikely the PM will face charges for admitting to a bet.
Sen joins former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, widely-reviled ESPN commentator Skip Bayless, and Manny Pacquiao in arguing that Manny Pacquiao won the fight, despite losing in a unanimous decision while sporting a major shoulder injury. Pacquiao is facing a class action lawsuit from boxing fans for not having disclosed the injury previously and, therefore, delivering a performance of lesser value than what fans paid for (and bet on). Sen is not believed to be among the plaintiffs. Yet.