Manny Pacquiao Knockout Led to Alleged Attack on Boxing Photographer
While Manny Pacquiao was knocked out courtesy of Juan Manuel Marquez, two pals close to the Pac-Man decided to shamefully attack a photographer trying to do his job.
Yahoo! Sports reports on the brief fracas that broke out just moments after Pacquiao was sent to the mat with a stirring blow from his longtime rival.
The report alleges Getty Images photographer Al Bello was accosted by Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez when they took exception to their defeated boxer being photographed.
While Pac-Man was laying face down following the late sixth-round KO, Bello snapped off pictures as any man in his position would do. It's at that point that he says he was punched and kicked by both Fernandez and Koncz.
Bello was clearly rattled by the exchange:
"Had I not gotten off the ring, I have no doubt the two of them would have beaten the [expletive] out of me and I might have been seriously hurt."
The report issues that Fernandez was crying when he noticed the photographer and went after him, going so far as to pursue him outside the apron.
Koncz sent the following text message to Yahoo! Sports in response to the incident:
"Not an assault just a miss understanding in the heat of the moment."
Pictures obtained by Yahoo! Sports would seem to counter that claim.
This isn't the paparazzi trying to get some shot of a celebrity during their down time. This is a Getty Images photographer capturing a historic moment in the sport.
That is precisely what Bello states is so disconcerting about the altercation. It all apparently began with Freddie Roach asking Bello not to shoot pictures, something overheard by Koncz and Fernandez, as well as something Roach has since apologized for asking.
It's not like Bello found any joy in photographing an obviously knocked-out legend of the sport.
Nobody likes doing that, but I was where I was credentialed to be and I was trying to do my job, which is to document the event. It's no different than the war photographers who have to shoot what is happening on a battlefield. Nobody wants to do that, but you have to document the history.
I've been a fan of Manny and I have shot a lot of his fights. I watched all the '24/7s' [on HBO], but what happened here was not right.
As for the two men and their alleged thuggery, executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, Keith Kizer, says he will review the case and possibly impose penalties.
He has also suggested Bello bring the police in on this incident. Bello was reluctant, saying that he really just wants an apology.
Another take on the incident came from Kizer, who noted that neither Fernandez nor Knocz had any issue with Bello doing his job back in 2009, when Pacquiao knocked Ricky Hatton to the mat.
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