Manny Pacquiao was on the end of one of the most controversial losses of his distinguished career on Sunday in Brisbane, Australia, as he suffered a unanimous-decision defeat to Jeff Horn.
Having seen off a fast start from the hometown fighter, Pacquiao was the aggressor for much of the fight and seemed on the brink of a stoppage win in the ninth round. But the three judges favoured the industry and spirit of Horn, awarding him the WBO welterweight belt.
The shock at the outcome was further fuelled by the punching statistics, which suggested the Filipino had been the better man. Read on for the numbers in full, the scorecard details and a recap of one of the most mind-boggling decisions in recent boxing history.
Pacquiao's Shock Loss
After the fight, boxing journalist Kevin Iole posted an image of the judges' scorecards via Twitter:
Kevin Iole @KevinI
Here is the scorecard from #PacquiaoHorn https://t.co/RNx7XoUxQR2017-7-2 05:39:41
Pacquiao appeared to be in control during the bout, and having opened up a big cut above Horn's right eye, the effects of 12 rounds with Pacman had clearly taken their toll on the Australian.
That is why there was so much shock when the winner was announced. Sports broadcaster Crystina Poncher provided the punching statistics:
Crystina Poncher @CrystinaPoncher
🤔🤔🤔 https://t.co/vYXp5mIaTq2017-7-2 06:28:13
As noted by the Compubox Twitter account, while Horn was the dominant force in the first round, Pacquiao consistently landed the more accurate shots:
Manny Pacquiao out landed Jeff Horn in 11 of the 12 rounds. Pacquiao out landed Horn, 182-92. #PacquiaoHorn2017-7-2 05:03:53
Punches in 1: Horn 9/56 Pac 10/34...Horn 8-6 edge in power landed..@trboxing2017-7-2 04:09:50
The punches tell a story of a fight in which Pacquiao wasn't at his best, in which Horn battled gamely and in which the Filipino was eventually able to exert himself on the contest. For it to go the other way was consequently a massive surprise.
Horn deserves a lot of credit for the way he acquitted himself in this one. Few gave the Australian a chance, although with a capacity home crowd behind him, he was smart in the early stages of the fight, dynamic and made life tough for his illustrious opponent.
Yet Pacquiao was the classier and, as the numbers above illustrate, the more accurate in his work. It's why former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant reacted like this at the result via Twitter:
Kobe Bryant @kobebryant
#PacquiaoHorn https://t.co/i1oqnD74Q22017-7-2 05:02:55
At 38, plenty will ponder what is next for Pacquiao after this disappointment. Although there was little in this performance to suggest he's over the hill, it was another bout in which he failed to stop his opponent—a run that goes back until 2009—and his trademark ferocity was lacking.
A strong win here for Pacquiao would have likely paved the way for some more glamorous fights further down the line. This result changes that, with the veteran insisting he would be keen to have a rematch with Horn, per Nine News Australia:
Nine News Australia @9NewsAUS
Manny Pacquiao says he ‘respects’ the decision of the judges and would ‘absolutely’ like to return for a rematch with Jeff Horn. #9News https://t.co/Ssgm8EVVQA2017-7-2 05:09:11
The new champion, meanwhile, will enjoy this moment. Horn had never been in the ring with a fighter of Pacquiao's calibre previously, and he rose to the challenge. The buzz that has been triggered in the aftermath of his win will not blemish what will surely remain the biggest night of his career.
The chance to go up against Pacquiao again in a fight that will prompt a lot more interest than Sunday’s meeting will be an opportunity to cherish.