Contributor: Nolan Howell
No one expected much from Australian underdog Jeff Horn when he stepped into the Sunday afternoon Brisbane sun in his home country to take on future hall of famer Manny Pacquiao. Most fans watching from their homes on Saturday night in the United States expected a quick primetime television showcase to propel Pacquiao into a bigger fighter as he heads towards a farewell tour at 38 years of age.
But the result was just as confusing to viewers as the idea of a warm winter sun in Australia. Jeff Horn came out with a unanimous decision win (117-111, 115-113, 115-113) over “Pacman.”
While Horn earned a place at the table as a top competitor at welterweight with an impressive showing, it was clear the countryman was given a lot of leeway on the scorecards by judges. Horn flustered Pacquiao early with a very ugly, herky-jerky but effective style that featured unorthodox feints, punches off of missteps, and dirty fighting to be expected from a fighter facing such a gulf in ability. After a rocky start for Pacquiao, the overextension on Horn coming in lead to Pacquiao opening up the signature the straight left and using the lead right to some effect as well. A round six headbutt opened Pacquiao up and perhaps frustrated him as Horn had his moment of the fight with a right hand that rocked the champion.
Another headbutt opened up a bigger gash in the seventh on Pacquiao and Horn perhaps picked up a round or two before the ninth, where Pacquiao laid a beating on Horn and earned what announcer Teddy Atlas scored a 10-8 round that many agreed with throughout social media and on other sites. The referee called for Horn to show him more or he would stop the fight and Horn hung on and won the tenth as Pacquiao looked gassed. However, it was Pacquiao who looked more impressive down the stretch as Horn looked to hang on and muddy the waters with clinch punching.
The decision shocked many and Pacquiao absolutely considered a rematch in the post-fight interview, but he looked a step slow and not as impressive as anticipated in a really game, exciting fight. Horn can use his considerable size and ugly style to bully his way into making a fight with damn near anyone close and it showed here as it looks as if the two are looking for another trilogy that could spawn some unexpected classics. Horn walks out the WBO welterweight titleholder in shocking fashion.
On the undercard, fellow Filipino Jerwin Ancajas stopped Teiru Kinoshita with a thunderous right hook to the body to win the IBF junior bantamweight strap, Irish super bantamweight prospect Michael Conlan delivered a third-round TKO stoppage of Jarrett Owen, and Shane Mosley Jr. disappointed as he dropped a split decision to Australian middleweight David Toussaint.
-Nolan can be reached at email@example.com or @undercardnolan.