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Jeff Horn shocks the world by outpointing Manny Pacquiao in Battle of Brisbane

By Anthony Cocks


Photos by Marty's Knockout Photography
Photos by Marty's Knockout Photography

When the fight between internationally renowned eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao 59-7-2 (38) and unknown Australian Jeff Horn 17-0-1 (11) was first announced, conventional wisdom was that the fight was nothing more than a tune-up for the 38-year-old Filipino icon.

 

The only surprise, according to the experts, would be if the novice Horn could somehow manage to last the distance. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was spruiking a knockout in the lead-up to the bout. His strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune was saying that Horn’s nerves would get to him as he fought in front of a crowd expected to be near 60,000 people.

 

Conventional wisdom, as it turned out, was wrong. So was Freddie Roach. And Justin Fortune.

 

Not only did Horn prove to be much more than a tune-up, he showed no sign of nerves as he boxed the fight of his life to defeat the popular 67 fight veteran by unanimous decision 117-111 and 115-113 twice.

 

From the opening bell Horn bullied Pacquiao across the ring, using his size and strength to back up the smaller fighter. The 29-year-old former schoolteacher was able to nullify Pacquiao’s vaunted hand and foot speed with angles of his own and wide variety of punches in attack.

 

Horn swept most of the early rounds with a sustained body attack, lead right crosses and some sneaky uppercuts when he trapped Pacquiao on the ropes.

 

It took Pacquiao eight rounds before he was able to make much of a stand. He had his best round in the ninth when he stunned Horn early and belted him from pillar to post for almost the entire three minutes. Fortunately for Horn, he sustained the attack and recovered well to finish the fight strongly in the championship rounds.

 

“It’s the crowd behind me, all the support,” said Horn in the ring after the fight.

 

“One quick thing first. This is just having a bit of a dig overseas to Floyd Mayweather that this is no joke. Which one does he want: the walking stick or the gloves? Come have a real fight.”

 

There was a good deal of clinching in the bout between the 5-foot-9 Horn and the much shorter Pacquiao. Their height difference combined with Pacquiao’s southpaw stance made for a messy fight at times.


Photos by Martys Knockout Photography
Photos by Martys Knockout Photography

Pacquiao was cut in no less than three places from headclashes and wore a mask of blood for much of the second half of the fight.  Horn himself didn’t get away scot-free, earning a cut over his right eye in the mid rounds.

 

Horn has a rematch clause in his contract that guarantees him $2 million should he fight Pacquiao again, four times as much as his purse for the first fight.  A rematch could be held in Melbourne, Australia, a city widely regarded as “The Sports Capital of the World”.

 

If that fight can’t be made there are still lucrative unification bouts for the newly minted WBO welterweight champion with WBC and WBA boss Keith Thurman or IBF counterpart Errol Spence Jr.

 

The victory is reminiscent of fellow Aussie Jeff “Hitman” Harding’s unexpected 12th round come-from-behind KO of Dennis Andries for the WBC light heavyweight championship in Atlantic City, USA in 1989.  That fight was just Harding’s 15th professional bout.

 

Pacquiao said after the fight that he would not be retiring.

 

“Very tough,” Pacquiao said.  “That’s the decision of the judges.”

 



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