Seconds after Manny Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden, two key members of his team allegedly assaulted Getty Images photographer Al Bello because they were angry that Bello was shooting pictures of the fallen fighter.
Bello said Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez were punching and kicking at Bello as he was trying to photograph Pacquiao, who was face first down on the mat.
Bello jumped off the apron in an effort to avoid confrontation with the men.
"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," Bello told Yahoo! Sports.
All photos courtesy of Chris Cozzone
Even after Bello jumped off the apron, an enraged Fernandez went through the ropes after him in an effort to get at him. Fernandez had been on the ground crying when he became aware that Bello was shooting photos of the knocked out Pacquiao.
Koncz did not return a phone call seeking comment, though he sent a text message to Yahoo! Sports regarding the incident. Koncz, who essentially serves as Pacquiao's manager, texted back, "Not an assault just a miss understanding in the heat of the moment."
When a follow-up text was sent by Yahoo! Sports indicating that there was photographic evidence of both Koncz and Fernandez attacking Bello, Koncz quit responding.
Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said he would review the incident and would consider potential penalties against Koncz and Fernandez.
"What I find interesting is that neither of these gentlemen, nor anyone else on Team Pacquiao, had any problems when the photographers were doing their jobs and shooting pictures of Ricky Hatton after Manny knocked Hatton out," Kizer said.
Pacquiao knocked Hatton out cold in the second round of a 2009 bout at the MGM Grand.
Bello said the incident began Saturday when Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach asked him not to shoot. He said that caught the attention of Koncz and Fernandez, which started the incident. Bello said Roach never touched him and later apologized for asking him not to shoot photos.
Bello said he is a fan of Pacquiao's and was just doing his job.
"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," Bello said. "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."
Kizer suggested that Bello call the police, but Bello said he was simply seeking an apology from Koncz and Fernandez.
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