Plenty of Horn for aging Pacquiao
The loss hurt badly not only because it was completely unexpected. It was all the more painful since Manny Pacquiao did little to justify his extended reign as an aging world boxing champion.
Five months short of turning 39, Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight to Australian long shot Jeff Horn, who threw everything at the Filipino ring icon, except the proverbial kitchen sink, to hack out a unanimous decision in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday.
Aggressive, fearless and ring-wise, the 29-year-old, undefeated Horn kept Pacquiao on the defensive with his brawling style except in the ninth round where the Filipino finally flashed his old devastating form and almost knocked out his bloodied rival.
Against the sustained Horn aggression, Pacquiao was a step slower as he finally showed his age even as this corner wondered how in the world did veteran trainer Freddie Roach failed to anticipate and solve the brawling style and non-stop pressure from the Australian, who also got away with two headbutts that opened cuts on both side of the Filipino’s head in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Horn, who was reportedly guaranteed $500,000 against the promised purse of $10 million for Pacquiao, did take a terrific beating from Pacquiao in the ninth but he refused to go down although he was later warned by referee Mark Nelson to battle back in the next round at the risk of the fight being stopped.
The Australian, who improved to 17-0-1, went toe-to-toe with Pacquiao in the last three rounds to salvage the biggest win of his career which Manny graciously acknowledged later.
“That’s the decision of the judges,” Pacquiao said of the unanimous verdict.
“I respect that,” he added as he looked forward to a rematch with Horn that was stipulated in the fight contract.
Their second meeting will not be just a match for redemption for Pacquiao, now with a 59-7-2 win-loss-draw record, but a chance to finally end his career on a glorious note and regain his place of prominence with the world boxing greats.
Speaking of another fight, the San Miguel Beermen seemed to have the title in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup in the bag with an impressive Game 5 win for a 3-2 lead over the TNT KaTropa in their best-of-seven championship series on Friday.
The Beermen try to wrap it up against the Texters in a game going on at presstime last night. If they lose, San Miguel and TNT dispute all the marbles in Game 7 set this Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
"Visit Inquirer Sports' The Pacquiao Files (www.inquirer.net/pacquiao-files) for news, features, and other multimedia content about Manny Pacquiao and his upcoming fights."
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.