Syed Saddiq: TMJ wanted Pacquiao bout in KL cancelled

Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse at the weigh-in ahead of their world welterweight boxing championship bout in Kuala Lumpur July 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse at the weigh-in ahead of their world welterweight boxing championship bout in Kuala Lumpur July 14, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, April 23 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim wanted Manny Pacquaio’s boxing match in Kuala Lumpur last July cancelled at the last minute, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman revealed today.

The Youth and Sports Minister told reporters that he and Sports Commissioner Datuk Zaiton Othman held an audience with Tunku Ismail in Johor to explain why the welterweight championship must go on.

“It would have caused a diplomatic crisis as six ministers and the president of the Philippines (Rodrigo Duterte) came over,” he said at a special press conference in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s first year anniversary in power.

In addition, he said the fight was to be broadcast live around the globe by more than 100 television and cable networks, and a cancellation would have resulted in huge losses.

He did not explain why Tunku Ismail had wanted the fight between the eight division Filipino world champion and Argentinian Lucas Matthysse cancelled.

Syed Saddiq had brought the matter up at the press conference after he was asked about his souring relationship with the Crown Prince of his home state.

He said the disdain Tunku Ismail, who is also known as TMJ, had shown him was due to political and business requests he has had to turn down.

Syed Saddiq said he had been made to feel uncomfortable to the point where he had to refuse the Crown Prince’s requests or risk abandoning his principles.

“Certain requests which I simply could not defend were asked of me and from there the situation didn’t go that well,” Syed Saddiq said.