The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines deplores the attack on a photojournalist by Manny Pacquiao’s assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez and adviser Michael Koncz, after the boxing champion’s recent loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.
According to news reports, the two assaulted Getty Images photographer Al Bello, who was taking photos of Pacquiao after the fighter was knocked out in the sixth round of the bout.
It is clear that Bello was merely performing his obligations as a photojournalist and, besides, had every right to take pictures of the fallen Pacquiao.
Koncz and Fernandez had absolutely no reason to attack him and their doing so was actually in the nature of a criminal act, just as Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach had no right to order Bello to stop taking photos, although Roach later apologized for doing so, according to the photographer.
Such boorish action by the members of Team Pacquiao, no matter how distraught they were by his loss, is inexcusable.
We appreciate that the Nevada Athletic Commission has promised to review the incident, and we hope it takes appropriate action to discipline Koncz and Fernandez.
But it should not stop there.
Manny Pacquiao himself should take action against these two, whose boorish and unsportsmanlike reaction to the loss can only tarnish his reputation for sportsmanship that has endeared him to millions of fans.
He can and should do no less.
—NESTOR BURGOS, chair,
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines