Hit man Horn dethrones Pacquiao Relentless Aussie challenger pounds Filipino legend to take WBO crown
BRISBANE, Australia — The Battle of Brisbane turned out to be a brutal, bloody brawl.
When the dust settled on Sunday afternoon, Manny Pacquiao had lost his WBO world welterweight title to Jeff Horn in a stunning unanimous decision in front of 52,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
Pacquiao, a Filipino congressman and 11-time world champion, was a heavy favorite but he got more than he bargained for against the gutsy Horn, a 29-year-old former schoolteacher.
Still, the defending champion dominated the later rounds and had Horn reeling at the end of the 9 th — prompting referee Mark Nelson to warn the Aussie’s corner that he would stop the fight if Horn didn’t show something in the 10th.
“I felt buzzed for sure, but I’m the Hornet — I had to come back,” Horn said.
“I’m not a quitter. Australians aren’t quitters to start with. We’ve showed we’re winners. It was the Battle of Brisbane, that’s for sure. Absolutely unbelievable.”
A spokesman for Pacquiao said he was dealing with head cuts and would not be able to attend the post-fight media conference.
“It was a close fight, it could have gone either way,” said promoter Bob Arum.
“A couple of close rounds, but you can’t argue with the result. I scored a lot of the early rounds for Jeff. Then I had Manny coming back in the middle.
“The 12th round, Jeff really won. If you give Manny the 11th, you have it a draw. You give Jeff the 11th, it’s 7-5.”
Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach predicted the fight would be short and sweet but Horn — unbeaten in his 17 previous pro fights — applied pressure by winning some of the early rounds and Pacquiao needed treatment during the 6th and 7 th for a deep cut from an accidental clash of heads.
The judges scored the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113, and Horn declared himself “no joke.”
Roach said last week that he would think about advising Pacquiao to retire if he lost the fight, but Horn can’t see Pacquiao retiring any time soon.
“I’m sure he’ll want to come back. It was a close decision and I’m sure he’ ll want to come back and prove himself,” Horn said.
Arum said there was a rematch clause in the contract, but he’d give it time before talking to Pacquiao about it.
“I know Jeff would welcome the rematch, but I don’t know Manny’s future posi- tion,” Arum added.
Pacquiao, who entered the fight with a record of 59-6-2, including 38 knockouts, was defending the WBO title he won from Jessie Vargas last November.
In Marawi city in the southern Philippines, more than 500 displaced villagers at a government hall, along with troops and police, cheered Pacquiao as they watched the bout on a huge monitor.
Local officials organized the viewing to give the displaced residents a respite from the disastrous siege by militants aligned with the Islamic State group who took over several villages in the city last month.
“Many couldn’t accept the result initally, but the entertainment provided a respite from their everyday struggle,” said a city spokesman.
“Manny Pacquiao provided a message of courage and resiliency to face our challenges head on.”
Manny Pacquiao, bloodied and battered, is bulled against the ropes by Jeff Horn during their WBO welterweight championship fight in Brisbane, Australia, on Sunday. Pacquiao, an 11-time world champion from the Philippines, lost his title to the Aussie challenger in a stunning unanimous decision in front of 52,000 spectators at Suncorp Stadium.
China’s Gong Lijiao heaves 19.14 meters to win the women’s shot put title at the IAAF Diamond League Paris meet on Saturday. It marked Gong’s third Diamond title of the year after triumphs in Shanghai and Rome, and bodes well for her chance at the world championships in London next month.