Grab the bull by the horns

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Conrad M. Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

I am not an expert on idioms but I have come across two popular ones that are opposites: Hold the tiger by the tail; and grab the bull by the horns.

Hold the tiger by the tail, as I understand when applied in fighting, means primarily not having to use brute force or power to overcome an opponent; it also means applying strategy and/or tactics when dealing with an opponent. Grab the bull by the horns is the opposite; go head-on against your opponent especially if you can match him in power and strength, or if you are bigger or have more power.

So when Manny Pacquiao battles Jeff Horn this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, he can simply grab the bull by the horns; simply put it, the Filipino has a big edge over Horn in the power and speed that he can literally go head-on against the Australian fighter.

I mean, just witness the last fight of Pacquiao against a towering Jessie Vargas who many thought (just because of his size and younger age) would give the Filipino a challenge. Instead, Vargas hit the deck once and was dominated by Pacquiao. Do you think Horn can put up a better show? I don’t think so.


For his part, Horn will surely lose if he will fight Pacquiao like he was grabbing the bull by the horns. But what if Horn tries to hold the tiger by the tail?

In the past few days, Horn’s camp has been very vocal about their ward beating Pacquiao if he fights like Juan Manuel Marquez, the Filipino’s nemesis. But do they really understand how Marquez beat Pacquiao?

The reason why Marquez was able to give Pacquiao hard times in the ring is the Mexican was the anti-thesis of the Filipino when it came to fighting style; Marquez is one of the best counterpunchers in the business (even if he got beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr.). So Marquez never resorted to grabbing the bull by the horns when he is in the ring, especially against Pacquiao.

But looking at closely how Horn fights, we can hardly call him a strategic or tactical fighter like Marquez; in fact the Australian fighter hardly moves like Marquez and throws punches rather wildly. And it is hard to believe that Horn can easily turn into a counter puncher during a two- to three-month training period. That is completely impossible!

So Pacquiao definitely has the edge in this fight because all he has to do is land one punch on Horn for every punch the Australian lands on him. And believe me, Pacquiao still has the speed to befuddle his Australian opponent that he won’t be able to count how punches he will take from the Filipino during the fight, even if he is a math teacher.

With Pacquiao expected to win against Horn, the best thing the Filipino’s camp should consider is to step up in the next fight or let the boxing great retire. But the welterweight division is already teeming with talents who are not pushovers: Danny Garcia; Keith Thurman; and Errol Spence Jr. And it is foolish to think that Garcia, Thurman and Spence have little chances of beating Pacquiao.

But expecting Horn to beat Pacquiao is unrealistic, and I am not even giving the Australian a “puncher’s chance” to win against the Filipino; he isn’t strong as a bull to land that haymaker.

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