SYDNEY: Australian Jeff Horn’s shock welterweight title victory over Manny Pacquiao was confirmed Tuesday after a scoring review by the World Boxing Organization declared him the clear winner.
The WBO took a close look at the fight after Pacquiao, backed by the Philippine government’s sports regulatory body, criticized the referee and the judges and demanded a review after losing in Brisbane on July 2.
Horn stunned the Filipino legend — who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions — with his ultra-aggressiveness to earn a unanimous 12-round decision.
The WBO — which does not have the power to reverse a decision unless fraud or law violations are proven — set up a panel of independent and anonymous judges who were asked to watch the bout without sound and determine who won each round.
The results were tabulated to show clearly the rounds each fighter won using an average scale based on 60, 80 and 100 percent, with three of the five officials needing to be in agreement.
A similar method has been used to review WBO title fights before.
“Upon the analysis, the findings stated that Pacquiao won the 3rd, the 8th and 9th by 100 percent; the 5th round was won by 80 percent; and the 11th round by 60 percent,” the WBO said in a statement.
“Horn won the 1st, 6th and 12th rounds by 100 percent; rounds 2, 4, and 7 by 80 percent; and then, the 10th round by 60 percent.
“From the results, it can be established that Pacquiao won five rounds while Horn won seven rounds. Based on this analysis, Jeff Horn was the winner of the bout.”
The original fight was scored 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 by judges Waleksa Roldan, Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan respectively.
Horn, a former schoolteacher written off before the bout by most observers, welcomed the ruling as confirming what he already knew.
“It gives me evidence behind me that I can just use now. Instead of saying I think I won the fight, now a heap of other people — professionally — think I won the fight,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“It’s definitely nice to have it finally put on paper. I thought I’d won the fight on the day and I think Pacquiao thought it as well. Now just to have it clear in front of us is good.”
He has made clear he is keen for a rematch and Brisbane’s Courier-Mail said talks were already under way for a possible November duel between the two in the same city.
Both the Philippine board and Pacquiao had criticized American referee Mark Nelson for supposedly allowing the underdog Australian to get away with illegal tactics without giving him warnings or point deductions.
The loss sparked calls in the Philippines for the 38-year-old Pacquiao, a national icon after rising from poverty to be considered one of the greatest fighters of his generation, to retire and concentrate on politics.
Pacquiao briefly quit boxing in 2016 to pursue his long-held political ambitions and was elected senator. But he quickly made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.