Hit man Horn de­thrones Pac­quiao Re­lent­less Aussie chal­lenger pounds Filipino leg­end to take WBO crown

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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.”

TER­TIUS PICKARD / AP

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.

CHEN YICHEN / XIN­HUA

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.

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