In a shocking, controversial outcome, Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) upset Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) by unanimous decision to win the WBO world welterweight title Sunday at Suncorp Stadium in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia.
Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole passed along the scores:
Kevin Iole @KevinI
Scores: 117-111, 115-113 115-113 for @jeffhornboxer Horn is your new WBO welterweight champion. WOW2017-7-2 04:57:15
Ring Magazine's Mike Coppinger and Bad Left Hook decried the judges' decision:
Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger
Manny Pacquiao robbed again!! Good, grief, boxing2017-7-2 04:56:54
Bad Left Hook @badlefthook
This is an atrocious decision. Just another Black Eye For Boxing Saturday.2017-7-2 05:01:00
Pacquiao's last controversial decision loss was against Timothy Bradley in 2012. Bradley was ringside as a commentator in Brisbane, a fact not lost on MLB Network's Robert Flores:
Robert Flores @RoFlo
Manny has been robbed twice and Timothy Bradley was there for both #PacquiaoHorn2017-7-2 05:02:10
Horn earned the respect of boxer Sergio Mora, who tweeted this out before the final decision:
Sergio Mora @TheLatinSnake_
Horn: Zero to Hero. #boxing2017-7-2 04:46:18
Not SportsCenter is apparently waiting for Steve Harvey to make a correction:
"And the winner is...Jeff Horn." #PacquiaoHorn https://t.co/bW7pGnV6AY2017-7-2 05:24:20
ESPN's Arash Markazi made his feelings clear:
Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi
Judge Waleska Roldan, who had it 117-111 for Horn, getting ready to score tonight's fight. https://t.co/gwqSuwoNk42017-7-2 05:39:27
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith was unsparing in a volcanic post-bout tirade:
.@stephenasmith can't believe it. https://t.co/y535eKi1y32017-7-2 05:44:34
This was Horn's first bout against a marquee opponent in a pro career that began in 2013. Pacquiao clearly wasn't the fighter he used to be, as he struggled with Horn's physicality and couldn't finish the 29-year-old in a ninth round where he looked ready to topple at any moment.
ESPN Stats & Info noted the punch count favored the 38-year-old Pacquiao:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Final punch statistics favored Manny Pacquiao, but Jeff Horn won WBO welterweight championship #PacquiaoHorn https://t.co/ZxMIeH88hU2017-7-2 05:04:51
Fox Sports Radio's Jason McIntyre felt the decision was bad for boxing:
Jason McIntyre @jasonrmcintyre
Manny Pacquiao losing is why boxing is such a joke. How can people take this sport seriously anymore? Jeff Horn did not win that, sorry2017-7-2 04:59:59
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was similarly upset:
Aaron Rodgers @AaronRodgers12
Boxing is a joke, and it proves it again tonight. Are you kidding me with those scorecards? #joke #rigged2017-7-2 04:58:23
The decision will take away from the action itself, which was entertaining and at times cinematic.
Tens of thousands of fans packed sunny Suncorp Stadium, readily cheering both Pacquiao and Horn when they did something positive. Blood streamed down both fighters' faces, due to a combination of accidental head clashes and powerful exchanges. Multiple timeouts for lost mouthpieces, cut checks and retaping allowed the combatants to gather themselves and pour forth more energy.
ESPN captured some of the carnage:
12th and final round in the Battle of Brisbane. Can The Hornet go the distance? Live on ESPN. https://t.co/PZ8evaEbip2017-7-2 04:53:00
Horn received credit for his bright start, as he pushed the pace and used his size advantage. Rappler.com's Ryan Songalia pointed this out by highlighting Horn's relative anonymity prior to the bout:
Ryan Songalia @ryansongalia
Lots of people finding out today that Jeff Horn is a pretty good fighter #PacHorn2017-7-2 04:09:23
It didn't take long for Twitter users to compare the solid action from Brisbane to the disappointing Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout. Markazi found the early stuff entertaining:
Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi
Wow! #PacHorn is 🔥A solid welcome back for casual fans that may have not seen a fight since the Mayweather-Pacquiao debacle.2017-7-2 04:12:45
While it was a thrill to see Horn rush in on Pacquiao, himself a whirling dervish in his day, he eventually paid the price for his forays. Still, the fact Horn was able to be so aggressive so deep into the bout without paying a terrible price was a sure sign of Pac Man's fading skill set, per Iole:
Kevin Iole @KevinI
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? Nah, not this guy2017-7-2 04:22:31
ESPN provided some of the exchanges from the end of the fifth round:
Six rounds to go. https://t.co/MR5fh5GJTV2017-7-2 04:29:29
Horn looked spent in the ninth, eating clean shot after clean shot, but with the referee ready to call the fight, the hometown boxer finished the bout with a valiant, winning effort.
In post-fight comments on the ESPN broadcast, a subdued Pacquiao said he would be willing to have a rematch. He deserves another shot, as he outclassed Horn in many rounds.
Credit goes to the Australian for putting his all into the fight and recovering after nearly getting the bout called off by the ref, but if Pacquiao's heart is still in it after this disappointing outcome, Horn will have to do better.