Almost over in 9
BRISBANE—Pounding and chasing Jeff Horn throughout the ring in the ninth round, Manny Pacquiao had the Australian challenger clinging for life and nearly pulled off a stoppage win on Sunday.
In fact, American referee Mark Nelson saw the heavy beating Horn had been receiving from Pacquiao and went over to chief trainer Glenn Rushton and Horn.
“Show me something in this round, otherwise I will stop the fight,” Nelson blurted out. Horn heard it loud and clear and rose to the challenge.
“Hey, hold your horses, we’re not that bad,” Horn said to himself. “We’ll keep going for sure.”
Being at his prime at 29, Horn got his legs back in no time and surprised Pacquiao by again taking the offensive in the 10th.
They furiously traded punches the rest of the way and when the bell sounded in the 12th, Pacquiao did a brief shadow boxing display.
But the referees were unimpressed.
Especially New Yorker Waleska Roldan, who scored the bout 117-111 for Horn. Fellow judges Chris Flores and Ramon Celdran handed 115-113 scores for Horn.
Pacquiao’s camp, though, slammed the officials.
“The referee was sketchy, the judges were crazy,” fumed Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
“Manny lost the fight, but Jeff Horn looks like a pumpkin,” Fortune added, referring to Horn who finished the fight with a badly swollen face and needing stitches over his right eye.
“Those scores, that card? It should be the other way around,” said Fortune.
Several celebrities on social media seemed to agree.
“This is what’s wrong with boxing,” tweeted former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. “Horn was very game but I’m hard pressed to see how he could have won that fight by any stretch!”
American football quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers was equally forthright.
“Boxing is a joke, and it proves it again tonight. Are you kidding me with those scorecards? #joke #rigged,” Rodgers said on Twitter.
Baseball and NFL legend Deion Sanders said: “@mannypacquiao was robbed! I’m really upset right now. Really. This is ignorant. God bless u Manny and all u do for your country. #Truth.”
Broadcaster ESPN said that Pacquiao had landed 182 punches to 92 from the challenger over the 12 rounds in front of more than 51,000 fans in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane. —WITH A REPORT FROM AFP
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