It seemed like something of a routine fight that fateful July 2, between legendary boxer plus Philippine Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Australian teacher-turned-slugger Jeff Horn. The clash was for the former’s WBO welterweight championship belt, held at the latter’s hometown of Brisbane. Horn was relatively new to the pros, with few matches on record compared to the 38-year-old absolute veteran Pacquiao. However the Aussie was undefeated, making him a worthy opponent comparable to Floyd Mayweather Jr. A significant number of analysts have tentatively given the fight to Pacquiao, with the only question being whether or not he could knock horn out (Manny’s last KO win being in 2009).
What transpired in Brisbane instead turned into a nightmare for Manny Pacquiao fans when their champion was upset by Jeff horn by unanimous decision at the end of twelve grappling and bloody rounds. With the largest Australian home crowd for a boxing match according to TheRoar.com (beating a record by Aussie slugger Jeff Fenech against Azumah Nelson of Ghana in 1992), Horn used his superior size and willingness to trade blows in order to get right at Pacquiao’s face, with a punching pattern that actually threw off the Filipino boxer’s rhythm.
Both competitors bled as a resulted of a couple instances of head-butting, although Pacquiao seems to have gotten the worst of it. At the end of it Horn coasted by on a close fight with scores 117-111, 115-113, 115-113. As the 50,000-strong audience at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium jubilated over their hometown hero’s triumph, several experts began making noise in social media that something wrong happened as told by CNN. One of these is the CompuBox scoring system, which recorded Pacquiao landing 182 punches on Horn while the latter got in only 92, which counts for only 15% of his total punches thrown.
This statistics report by CompuBox was corroborated by ESPN, which has been blessed by being able to air the Pacquiao vs. Horn “Battle of Brisbane” on their cable channel after so many years’ worth of matches with the Philippine boxer being pay-per-view only. The fact that this return of the Pac-Man to ESPN ended in a loss was not quite received well by the commentators on scene, with Teddy Atlas being the most vocal of his protest over the unanimous decision.
Manny Pacquiao is well on his way back to the Philippines and his hometown of General Santos City as of this writing. Despite the fact that he could not prevail, the Filipino people is bound to remain solidly behind their champion, even as some may be of the opinion that it is high time for the fighting Senator to retire.
Photo courtesy of abc.net.au