Before eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao and now World Boxing Organization (WBO) world welterweight champion Jeff Horn squared off on Sunday in Brisbane, most boxing analysts gave the Australian a very slim chance to win.
But after the dust settled, Pacquiao lost his WBO belt via unanimous decision in a fight where both fighters were criticized and praised by a number of fighters and analysts alike.
The Filipino’s trainer Freddie Roach even said he would ask Pacquiao to retire.
Although the prevailing sentiment was Pacquiao was robbed at Brisbane, it was obvious the Filipino could have delivered a better performance while his opponent proved a tough nut to crack.
Among those who believed Paquiao won was former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. “This is what’s wrong with boxing. Horn was very game but I’m hard pressed to see how he could have won that fight by any stretch!,” he said on his Twitter account.
“So sad boxing has gone this route. Pac won it. Hands down,” he added.
Timothy Bradley, who lost two of three fights against Pacquio that all went the distance, said in the article “Bradley: Pacquiao Showed His Age, But Horn Didn’t Win the Fight,” published on Monday in boxingscene.com that Horn clearly lost the fight.
“I’m not saying that Jeff Horn won this fight. I’m just saying he did get caught with some shots, he did get backed up at times. Manny Pacquiao caught him with the cleaner, effective punches…Honestly, I think Jeff Horn, honestly, lost this fight,” Bradley said.
Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was kinder to both fighters believing the bout should have been declared a draw. “[The scorecard] 117-111 is a problem. 115-113 Manny is what I thought. But I thought it was a draw,” he said on his Twitter account.
Criticism on Pacquiao
However, there was one fighter who denigrated Pacquiao as a “cherry picker” who paid the price. On his Twitter account, undefeated Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux, ranked No. 7 in the Pound-for-Pound rankings of The Ring magazine, said, “Good nite kids. Remember this….even cherry picking can be dangerous. Work hard! Everything is possible!”
“I personally saw Manny win the fight. However, Horn deserved nothing but praise. They [Pacquiao camp] were hoping for a cherry and got a Lion,” he added.
In boxing, cherry picking means choosing an opponent that can be easily beaten.
Yahoo boxing writer Kevin Iole even thought Pacquiao had lost his step. “I think Pac is winning the fight, but if I’m being honest, I have to say he looks like a shell of himself. Top 10 P4P [pound-for-pound]? Nah, not this guy,” he said on his Twitter account.
In his boxing column last Sunday published in yahoo.com titled “Should Manny Pacquiao call it quits after controversial loss to Jeff Horn?”, Iole said the Filipino even sought excuses for his loss.
“Though the statistics overwhelming favored Pacquiao—he landed 182 of 573 punches, compared to just 92 of 625 for Horn—he was forced to resort to excuses at the end. He said he was bothered by the blood that poured from a cut on top of his head that was the result of an accidental head butt, and he also said he was ill,” he said.
“He blamed a cut for his loss to Erik Morales in the first fight of their trilogy, back in 2005. All the experience he gained fighting the greatest fighters in the world in the next dozen years apparently didn’t prepare him to deal with that….It’s nonsense,” Iole added.
Nate Loop in an analysis published in bleacherreport.com titled “
“Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn: Judges’ Scorecards, Fight Stats and Reaction,” published on Monday, gave credit to Horn despite the Australian facing a champion no longer in his prime.
“Horn deserves plenty of credit for his performance, whether or not one agrees with the judges. He took on one of boxing’s best, albeit well beyond his prime, and was aggressive throughout the match. There was no fear fighting in front of tens of thousands of fans for the first time, with worldwide attention and a championship belt on the line,” he said.
He also warned Pacquiao on insisting on a rematch against Horn given the Filipino is already 38 years old.
“If Pacquiao really is committed to a rematch, perhaps he should do it quickly, before his abilities fade even further,” Loop said.