Manny Pacquiao Reached for Cherries and was Poked by a Horn
By: Kirk Jackson
Shockwaves were sent throughout the boxing world once again when Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao 59-7-2 (38 KO’s) lost a stunning, controversial decision to relatively unknown challenger Jeff “The Hornet” Horn 17-0-1 (11 KO’s) last weekend.
Many viewers, including the commentary team of ESPN headed by Teddy Atlas, Joe Tessitore, Timothy Bradley and Stephen A. Smith were baffled upon the announcement of Horn’s victory and openly questioned the validity of the decision.
A few other celebrities chimed in as well.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 2, 2017
While the decision remains controversial, what’s more shocking is how the actual fight manifested.
The score of 117-111 in favor of Horn is repulsive, even a unanimous decision for either fighter is questionable.
The tally of that score would not be reflective of the performance from either fighter to be frank. However, the score of 115-113 can be considered accurate and indicative of the battle in Brisbane.
Despite the one-sided commentary and erroneous if not questionable CompuBox numbers, Horn made the fight ugly and highly competitive.
As commentator Tim Bradley pointed out, if the fight is close, the score may benefit the hometown fighter.
Some viewers may argue the CompuBox numbers were so one-sided, there’s no way a decision could be scored for Horn.
CompuBox is the name of a computerized scoring system run by two operators.
CompuBox is used in professional boxing matches across the world and serves as a statistical aid for observers at home watching the fights.
Concerns revolving around the accuracy of CompuBox numbers are another issue. What they claim to do (precisely tally punches thrown and landed from each fighter) is nearly impossible in real time.
CompuBox is essentially two guys hitting a button when they think a punch landed and hitting a button when they think a punch was thrown.
That itself is inaccurate with so many variations of punches that can be thrown. Does CompuBox tell the distinction between jabs for example?
Jabs can be utilized as a pitty-pat distraction or be used to set up a follow up power punch, or can be used as a power jab.
There are some punch counts that can’t be defended in any way when you analyze the actual round and it should not be utilized when scoring a round.
If the accuracy stats were computed after the fight, with the possibility to slow down and replay exchanges, then it might work. But during the fight there’s no way you can identify and track landed shots consistently.
Many Pacquiao supporters complained of CompuBox’s inaccuracy in the aftermath of Pacquiao’s fight against Floyd Mayweather in 2015.
Regarding the Pacquiao vs. Horn fight, it was indeed foul-infested; numerous incidental head-butts and head-clashing, holding and hitting from Horn, head-locks and other WWE inspired holds, elbows, anything Horn could muster.
And for his part, Pacquiao played right into his hands.
There was one constant issue Atlas failed to mention throughout the telecast. The managing of real estate, or for better terms – the controlling of distance.
Pacquiao couldn’t maintain the space he needed to effectively get his shots off and he was outworked and out-hustled by the younger Horn.
As the well-seasoned veteran with over 60 fights, Pacquiao failed to capitalize on the obvious and constant mistakes from Horn, the challenger with less than 20 fights.
Horn reliably lunged in and leaned in with his head and upper-body whenever he attacked; therefore telegraphing most of his punches. It’s mind boggling how someone with such superior speed, mobility and experience (Pacquiao) could not capitalize on these recognizable errors.
Pacquiao is capable of landing right-check hooks; he landed one of those punches on Floyd Mayweather a few years back in their fight. Where was the pivoting and stepping to the side from Pacquiao?
As far as punch accuracy, Pacquiao consistently hit air. Pacquiao certainly had his moments; in the fourth round, sprinkling clean shots here and there throughout the course of the bout and the ninth round was as dominant a round we’ve witnessed in years from the Pac-man.
It took Pacquiao a few rounds to get warmed up, as he really didn’t start finding his mark until the fourth round or so and with the exception of round nine, Pacquiao looked gassed towards the end of the fight.
We can attribute the inaccuracy and conditioning issues to old age, as Pacquiao is set to turn 39 later this year, or we can attribute this performance Horn’s awkwardness and ruggedness, or Pacquiao’s cold.
Apparently the Filipino congressmen battled a cold leading up to the fight. I believe he also battled a cold, along with experiencing the trauma of blood testing in his first encounter with Erik Morales which also resulted in a loss.
Colds, cramps, blood-testing and injured shoulders always appear to derail Pacquiao at some point it seems.
No matter how we dissect the fight and the results of the fight, controversy and everything that surrounds it, this is a classic example of cherry-picking gone wrong.
Leading up to the fight, measuring each fighter’s performances, Pacquiao possessed the clear edge on paper.
Hand-speed, foot-speed, punching power, mobility, punch accuracy, experience, chin, the only metrics and intangibles that were debatable were stamina and heart.
And Pacquiao bested two world champions (Bradley, Jessie Vargas) last year.
Pacquiao’s only blemish in recent years is against Mayweather – who is regarded as the best fighter of his generation.
For a moment, lets ignore the actual result of the contest between Pacquiao and Horn. The fight itself should not have been close or competitive, yet it was.
— Guillermo Rigondeaux (@RigoElChacal305) July 2, 2017
Apologies to Horn but Pacquiao had no business sharing the ring with a school teacher. Although it appears Professor Horn educated Pacquiao and the viewers with a display of tenacity, true-grit and undying will.
The results set-up a lucrative rematch for Horn and Pacquiao along with a probable change in venue. This also changes the landscape of the welterweight division and pound-for-pound rankings.
Obviously the pound-for-pound rankings vary, but we have to honor the results of the contest and even if there is a dispute regarding the results, the performance from Pacquiao was not pound-for-pound caliber.
Serious question, can anyone envision the newly crowned WBO welterweight champion Horn competing with the likes of current welterweight contenders Bradley or Vargas?
How about former champions – still contenders such as Danny Garcia and Kell Brook?
By: Kirk Jackson
Would Horn stand a chance against current unified WBA and WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman or current IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence?
Can you picture Horn defeating Terence Crawford or even Adrien Broner?
Heck, Horn may even continue his legends tour and face Mayweather if he can defeat Conor McGregor (sounds weird typing that).
The point is despite his monumental victory, it’d be hard-fetched to find anyone outside of Australia favoring Horn’s chances against any of the aforementioned names.
There’s another legendary fighter from the same era with a fight approaching next month, who may want to take heed to this example.
What’s the moral of the story? Be careful of the cherries you pick.