Horn stuns Pac­quiao to win WBO wel­ter­weight crown

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer school­teacher Jeff Horn stunned world cham­pion Manny Pac­quiao to win the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion wel­ter­weight crown with a con­tro­ver­sial unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion in Bris­bane yesterday. Given no chance by most ob­servers, the 29-yearold Horn’s ul­tra-ag­gres­sive style rocked Pac­quiao, with the three judges scor­ing the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 to the Aus­tralian af­ter 12 rounds.

Pac­quiao’s camp and ob­servers in­clud­ing Len­nox Lewis slammed the de­ci­sion, as the eight-weight world cham­pion said on Filipino TV: “We thought that we won this fight.”

“There is no prob­lem with me if there’s a re­match,” he added. “It would be bet­ter if the re­match would be held in the Philip­pines.”

Pac­quiao, 38, is con­sid­ered one of the great­est fight­ers of his gen­er­a­tion. His camp had pre­dicted a “short and sweet” win over Horn, a 2012 Aus­tralian Olympian.

But Horn showed no signs of be­ing over­awed by the oc­ca­sion, re­lent­lessly tak­ing the fight to the Filipino great and not al­low­ing him to find any rhythm.

“I feel like he couldn’t get a hold of my gap. I was feint­ing a lot, try­ing to up­set his rhythm and I think that was working through­out the ma­jor­ity of that fight,” said Horn, who stands three-and-a-half inches (nine cm) taller than Pac­quiao.

‘THE JUDGES WERE CRAZY’

Pac­quiao did man­age to land some left jabs in the open­ing rounds to take the early points, but Horn re­fused to back away and his brawl­ing tac­tics paid div­i­dends through the mid­dle stages. “He was quick when he put com­bi­na­tions to­gether but I felt con­trol­ling the gap made it eas­ier to see the punches com­ing,” Horn said. “The size difference helped too.”

Pac­quiao, bleed­ing pro­fusely from cuts high above both eyes caused by ac­ci­den­tal head clashes, launched a sav­age counter-at­tack in the ninth round and ap­peared to have Horn in trou­ble with some mas­sive blows that left the Aus­tralian stag­ger­ing.

“The ref came over (at the end of the round) and said ‘show me some­thing or I’ll stop the fight’,” Horn said.

“I thought, ‘Hang on, hold your horses-I’m not that bad, I can keep go­ing for sure’.”

Horn re­cov­ered and came out strongly in the 10th. “That was just my heart that kept me go­ing,” he said.

“He got me with a cou­ple of good shots and I did go back­wards more in that round than in any other round in the fight, but I still felt good.

“But I came back in the 10th, 11th and 12th.” Both fight­ers be­gan to tire in the fi­nal stages of a con­test fought at a break­neck pace, but Horn’s early lead proved too much to peg back as he claimed the big­gest win of his ca­reer.

Pac­quiao had been hop­ing to set up a sec­ond big­money show­down with Floyd May­weather, but it was Horn who called for a fight with the un­beaten Amer­i­can im­me­di­ately af­ter his win.

Pac­quiao’s strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Justin For­tune was left fum­ing by the re­sult, claim­ing: “The ref­eree was sketchy, the judges were crazy.”

“Manny lost the fight, but Jeff Horn looks like a pump­kin,” added For­tune, re­fer­ring to the badly swollen face of Horn, who needed stitches over his right eye.

Lewis, the for­mer undis­puted world heavy­weight cham­pion, tweeted: “This is what’s wrong with box­ing. Horn was very game but I’m hard pressed to see how he could have won that fight by any stretch!” — AFP

BRIS­BANE: Jeff Horn of Aus­tralia strikes a pose fol­low­ing his win against Manny Pac­quiao of the Philip­pines in the World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion boat at Sun­corp Stadium in Bris­bane on Satur­day. — AFP

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