Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao got robbed in the worst decision-of-the-year as he somehow, inexplicably lost a twelve-round unanimous decision to Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, as judges Waleska Roldan, Chris Flores, and Ramon Cerdan, all rendered terrible scorecards, 117-111 and two score of 115-113 for Horn, despite the fact that Pacquiao out landed Horn in eleven of the twelve rounds, dominated every punch statistic, and almost stopped him in the ninth-round, while Horn connected on a mere seven punches per round.
One of the myriad issues with boxing is judging. Time and again, judges render horrendous scorecards that do not evenly remotely match what took place in the ring, as was the case in this bout where Pacquiao clearly won, yet he was not given the decision. It is a stretch to give Horn five rounds in this bout, let alone the victory, but Judge Roldan gave Horn nine rounds. These judges unfortunately ruined what was an otherwise exciting, action-packed welterweight bout and could potentially cause casual boxing fans to avoid the sport all together because of their mind boggling decision on the fight. Hopefully, for the sake of the fighters, the sport, and fans alike, all three of these judges do not get another opportunity to decide a significant boxing fight.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Pacquiao landed about twice as many punches as Horn 182 to 92, was more accurate 32 per cent to 15 per cent, connected on more jabs 59 to 19, and landed more power shots 123 to 73.
The “Battle in Brisbane” took place at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in front of a massive sold-out crowd of 51,052, mostly pro-Horn fans. The fight was televised on ESPN and it was Pacquiao’s first non-pay-per-view bout since 2005.
To his credit, Horn fought much better than anyone expected. He went the full twelve rounds with one of the sport’s all-time greats, even though many boxing experts expected that he would get stopped in the middle rounds and give Pacquiao his first knockout victory since 2009. Horn came to fight, as he aggressively pressed the action against Pacquiao from the opening bell and kept up this fast pace for much of the bout. He threw more punches than Pacquiao, although a great deal of those shots were either blocked or missed their mark.
Pacquiao out landed Horn, displayed great counter-punching, and repeatedly connected on his patented straight left. He landed the bigger power shots and battered and bloodied Horn down the stretch. Although boxings only eight-division world champion is not the same fighter as he once was and has showed some recent signs of slippage at the advanced age of thirty-eight (in his prime, maybe three years ago, he would have easily dispatched Horn early on) he did more than enough to win this bout against a fighter who was nine years younger and had far less wear and tear on his body.
There was a good amount of blood that accumulated in this fight. Pacquiao’s jab opened up a cut above Horn’s right eye in the third-round. This cut got worse and continued to bleed as the fight progressed, although it did not appear to bother Horn. There was an accidental clash of heads from a head-butt in the sixth and seventh-round which Pacquiao got the worst of it, both times. He had blood streaming down his face from both cuts, which were on the left and right side of his hairline, but his corner did a great job at stopping the bleeding on both occasions.
Horn connected on his best punch of the night in the sixth with a straight right hand that momentarily rocked Pacquiao. Horn went down in the eighth-round as both fighters’ legs got tangled and referee Mark Nelson correctly ruled it a slip. Pacquiao landed a left hook, later in the round that staggered Horn and caused him to bleed from his nose.
Pacquiao almost ended the fight with a one-sided ninth-round when he brutally pummeled Horn with twenty-two punches, most of them power shots, as Horn offered nothing in return and struggled to cover up. Horn demonstrated a great deal of heart as he somehow survived the round and did not go down. Referee Nelson went to Horn’s corner after the round and wanted to stop the fight, but Horn and his trainer/manager Glenn Rushton convinced him to allow the bout to continue. The referee warned Horn that he would stop the fight, if he did not show him something in the next round.
Luckily for Horn, Pacquiao did not press the action in the tenth as he appeared too tired to continue the sustained offensive attack as he had in the previous round. Both fighters went after one another in the last two rounds, but again, it was Pacquiao who got the better of the exchanges and landed the harder shots.
Horn in his first world title fight obtained the WBO welterweight belt from Pacquiao, who was making his second title defense. The former school teacher remained undefeated and improved to 17-0-1, 11 KOs. Horn set himself up for significant fights in the welterweight division with the victory.
Pacquiao, the tough luck loser, dropped to 59-7-2, 38 KOs and ended his two bout winning streak. This is the second time that the Pac Man lost a fight (and belt) that he clearly won, the other being against former four-time, two-division world champion Timothy Bradley (who provided color commentary for this bout) who he lost to in June, 2012 via a split decision, in the first encounter of their trilogy. Pacquiao avenged that defeat twice.
Pacquiao has a contractual rematch clause and in the post-fight interview, he stated that he will exercise that clause. Horn also said he wants a second fight with the Pac Man. Hopefully, when the rematch takes place, the judges will render a correct decision, if it is needed.