Aging Pacquiao Stunned By Horn Via Controversial Decision In Australia
By: Sean Crose
Pacquiao was believed to be something of an afterthought, a dwindling has-been of an attraction who was clinging to diminishing pay per view receipts as the sport of boxing moved on without him. Promoter Bob Arum and ESPN, however, gave Pacquiao the opportunity to reintroduce himself this weekend, when the legendary fighter faced popular Australian contender on (at least in Australia) Jeff Horn on Sunday morning in Brisbane. The bout was aired live basic cable television in the United States, where fans were able to watch the famous PacMan defend his WBO welterweight title strap for free in front of 50,000 Australian fans.
Horn came right out to win after the opening bell and managed to land cleanly. Things got closer – and quite exciting – however in the second, with Pacquiao seeming to get into his groove. Things stayed intense in the third, but it looked like Horn might be starting to tire. Still, Horn was able to land and roughhouse in the fourth, while Pacquiao was able to employ his legendary skill. A head butt stopped the fight temporarily in the sixth, as Pacquiao suffered a cut. Perhaps more tellingly, he was able to land hard at round’s end. It was hard to write off Pacquiao’s skill and slipperiness, however.
It was, surprisingly, a strange fight to comprehend. Horn was bigger and perhaps even more aggressive. Yet Pacquiao was getting the more important clean shots in. A second head butt stoppage in the seventh caused a lot of blood to run down Pacquiao’s face. In the eighth, Pacquiao tossed Horn to the canvas. It was a somewhat ugly, knotty affair. By the ninth, however, Pacquiao’s greatness rose to the occasion, as he started to beat the clearly exhausted Horn senseless. While Horn sat on his stool between the ninth and tenth, the referee threatened to stop the fight if Horn didn’t come alive.
Horn, however, survived the tenth, In fact, he looked decent. Furthermore, Pacquiao’s foot was off the gas for the full three minutes. By the eleventh, the Filipino icon looked exhausted. Still, Pacquiao was able to employ his effective clean punching in the round. The twelfth and final chapter ended with Horn going for broke and a feeling that the judges might give the fight to the local guy, even though he might not deserve the win. And indeed, Horn was given a unanimous decision victory with scores of 117-111. 115-113, 115-113.
Welcome to big time boxing, ESPN viewers.
Earlier in the evening, Jerwin Ancajas bested Teiru Kinoshita with a brutal seventh round body blow in their IBF super flyweight title matchup. Before that, Irish Olympic star Michael Conlon took out Jarrett Owen in his third pro bout with a great display of featherweight body work. Lastly, Shane Mosely Jr opened the night by losing a split decision to David Toussaint in an eight round middleweight throwdown.