At the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Jeff Horn beat some heavily stacked odds to dethrone WBO Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in a closely contested 12-rounder. The dramatic, gruelling affair was concluded as a Unanimous Decision, reached via fair tallies of 117-111 and 115-113 (twice). Boxing Base also scored the great upset at 115-113.
Aussie hero Horn now rises to 17 wins, no defeats, 1 draw, 11 knockouts, while Pacquiao falls to 59 wins, 7 defeats, 2 draws, 38 knockouts.
The weekend headliner contained zero knockdowns, yet plenty of fireworks, with both men being rocked along the way before furiously battling through fatigue in the later sessions to hear the final bell. Pacquiao, it has to be said, was fighting more than just a capable opponent, as the veteran suffered two nasty cuts – to the forehead in the 6th, and the left eye in the 7th – from accidental head clashes.
Horn, 29, was all business on the biggest stage of his career, making Pacquiao, 38, uncomfortable early. The overlooked contender put his larger frame to good use, pushing back Pacquiao with effective pressure, bullying his man on the ropes when he had to, and demonstrating some thudding power, which included a solid body attack and dangerous right hand.
But it was Horn’s deceptive skill set that allowed him to fiercely compete with one of boxing’s slickest warriors tonight. Proving himself to be more than just a good banger, Horn held deft tactics center ring, employing good distance control, head movement, and enough speed to beat Pacquiao to the punch on occasion.
So what happened with Pacquiao? Well, first of all, discussion should be more about what Horn did right than what Pacquiao did wrong. That’s fair. Otherwise, what was the point of this contest? Horn won a hard-fought decision against a heavy favourite tonight, after all.
But, with all that said, it is fair to say that this wasn’t exactly a vintage Pacquiao we saw in the ring. So naturally, I hate to tie up this report on such a negative footnote.
It’s hard to deny the key differences in Pacquiao’s physical and mental prowess. The Philipino icon was firmly in the fight, without question. This is true. But here we saw Pacquiao eating and missing with a lot more leather than we are accustomed to, holding and complaining during unremarkable clinches, catching breathers, and, clearly sagging down the stretch.
This was Horn’s night, and the man thoroughly deserves the WBO’s portion of the world title, along with every ounce of praise he is about to receive from any respectable boxing fan. Yet I am afraid that Pacquiao’s time as an elite power in boxing is coming to an end. It is father time, after all, who remains unbeaten.
Give us your take on Pacquiao vs Horn in the comments, plus the rest of the Brisbane card.