Pac­quiao to win by de­ci­sion, says judge

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - LIAM HYS­LOP

Manny Pac­quiao by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion.

That’s the pre­dic­tion from re­spected Kiwi in­ter­na­tional box­ing judge Ian Scott for the Filipino’s WBO world wel­ter­weight ti­tle fight against Aus­tralian Jeff Horn at Sun­corp Sta­dium in Bris­bane on Sun­day.

Scott has a bet­ter idea than most about how the 29-year-old Horn will go in by far the big­gest fight of his ca­reer hav­ing judged seven of Horn’s last eight fights, in­clud­ing two against former world cham­pi­ons Ali Funeka and Ran­dall Bai­ley.

Scott will be watch­ing on from Welling­ton on Sun­day, but said Pac­quiao, with a 59-6-2 pro­fes­sional fight record, should be too classy for Horn.

‘‘I hon­estly be­lieve even though Manny doesn’t have the punch­ing power of his golden days, I think he will win a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion.

‘‘I can’t see him stop­ping Jeff Horn. Jeff is a tough kid and has a good ticker, but I don’t think Jeff will have the hand speed to stop Manny Pac­quiao. He’s the stronger puncher of the two, but is slower than Pac­quiao.’’

Elite-level, ti­tle-fight ex­pe­ri­ence was mas­sively in Pac­quiao’s favour, Scott said.

‘‘Jeff has never fought at this level pre­vi­ously and I think that’s go­ing to be a big ad­van­tage for Manny Pac­quiao.’’

But all that ex­pe­ri­ence can be a dou­ble-edged sword, hav­ing been gained over a long pe­riod of time. Pac­quiao is 38 and age catches up with ev­ery­one.

Horn was knocked down in the third round against both Funeka and Bai­ley, be­fore pick­ing him­self back up to reg­is­ter TKO vic­to­ries, although Scott didn’t ex­pect Pac­quiao to floor Horn.

‘‘He’s con­ced­ing al­most 10 years to Jeff and he doesn’t have the power he had in his ear­lier years. That showed in his lat­ter fights against Floyd May­weather and Ti­mothy Bradley - he hasn’t stopped an op­po­nent since 2009.’’

That gives the power ad­van­tage to Horn, who has 11 wins by knockout in his 16-0-1 ca­reer, which will be added to by Horn’s size ad­van­tage come fight time.

Scott said the 1.75-me­tre Horn will cut about five kilo­grams to make the 66.7kg limit for the weigh-in at 11am on Satur­day and could put that back on, with in­ter­est, come fight at 1.30pm (3.30pm NZ time) on Sun­day.

‘‘He could weigh as much as 72kg by fight time. Manny (1.66m) is a light wel­ter­weight. He’ll have no prob­lems mak­ing the limit, but won’t put weight back on to the ex­tent Jeff Horn will. There could be some­thing like a 7kg weight ad­van­tage to Horn.’’

That height and weight ad­van- tage are Horn’s main weapons, but he has to catch Pac­quiao first to be able to use them.

If he can, Scott said Horn would have to make the most of his strong right hand.

‘‘Manny is a south­paw and the best punch against an ad­vanc­ing south­paw is a good right hand. Jeff’s best weapon is his right hand.’’

Horn has only ever fought in Aus­trala­sia, with seven fights in New Zealand af­ter link­ing up with pro­mot­ers Duco Events, in­clud­ing against Funeka as the main un­der­card for fel­low Duco fighter Joseph Parker’s WBO world heavy­weight ti­tle win over Andy Ruiz in De­cem­ber.

Scott said he was sur­prised to see Horn take the fight at this stage of his ca­reer, but said even if the lost, it would be good for his ca­reer.

‘‘What’s the worst pos­si­ble sce­nario? He loses on points to Manny Pac­quiao, an all-time great, there’s no shame in do­ing that and it’ll ex­pose him to the wider in­ter­na­tional box­ing public.’’

Ian Scott pre­dicts a points vic­tory to Manny Pac­quiao.

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