Manny Pacquiao versus Jeff Horn: Preview and prediction

Justin Faux Columnist

By Justin Faux, Justin Faux is a Roar Expert

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    In the biggest boxing match held on Australian soil in decades, former Queensland-based school teacher Jeff Horn will look to knock out prizefighting royalty.

    Horn, who represented his home nation at the 2012 Olympics in London, had the biggest opportunity of his young career last December in New Zealand. What made it a make-or-break fight for the 29-year-old wasn’t the man standing on the opposite side of the ring, though.

    Instead, Horn had to impress Bob Arum, the man who has been bankrolling blockbuster fights since linking with Muhammad Ali in 1966, and now promotes Manny Pacquiao.

    Facing respected yet shopworn South African puncher Ali Funeka, it was supposed to be a real litmus test for the Queenslander. After all, the last time he faced a veteran it was against over-the-hill former champion Randall Bailey, who stung ‘The Hornet’ with a right-hand during his losing effort against the promising up-and-comer.

    This time, there was no major scare to overcome. Outside of a moment when both fighters clashed heads, sending the Aussie to the mat momentarily, it was smooth sailing, controlling the bout from start-to-finish, eventually adding the former IBO welterweight king to his list of victims in the sixth round.

    Arum, who was in New Zealand to promote his heavyweight charge Anthony Ruiz, who came up short in the main event title fight against Joseph Parker, watched on patiently from his floor-seat during Horn’s one-sided whooping of Funeka.

    When the bout was over, the camera captured the 85-year-old promoter clapping and nodding his head.

    “I could be fighting Manny Pacquiao or Timothy Bradley in my next fight, who knows. I’m ready for any of them.” The mild-mannered fighter said with a smile after the win.

    It was clear that Horn had Arum’s attention. He later admitted that the story of a “clean-cut white kid” who only started boxing to fend off bullies and wound up transitioning from the classroom to the boxing ring was a marketers dream.

    Jeff Horn Boxing 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Robert Shakespeare)

    Within weeks the rumour mill started rumbling about a potential Pacquiao versus Horn bout in Australia.

    Heading into Sunday’s 12-round championship bout for the WBO welterweight crown, many believe ‘Pac-Man’ is ripe for the picking.

    The 38-year-old former eight-division world champion is past-his-prime, hasn’t won by knockout since 2008, and doesn’t seem to be taking the challenge of Horn seriously, which is underlined by the fact that the champion boxer played on his phone for most of the pre-fight press conference.

    It would be a huge moment for Horn and Aussie boxing in general if he managed to slay the Filipino dragon. But this is boxing, the world’s cruelest sport, and fairy-tale endings are about as common as a Bigfoot sighting.

    Pacquiao, one of the ten best boxers in history, is simply too much for Horn, even in his diminished form.

    Horn does not have the quickness, nor the experience to deal with the blistering hand speed of Pacquiao – something that no sparring partner could emulate. Making matters worse, he doesn’t possess one-punch knockout power either.

    Horn fans will be quick to point out that Pacquiao’s chin isn’t what it used to be, and the Filipino great crumbled when clubbed by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, which is absolutely true, but Horn does not have a fraction of the power of Marquez.

    Chances are, Horn won’t knock Pacquiao’s block off, but he won’t end his night looking up at the ceiling lights in Suncorp Stadium either.

    Manny Pacquiao

    (photo: Wiki Commons)

    Granted, Horn has been wounded in combat, but that was against Bailey, one of the most electrifying hitters in the history of face-punching. I seriously doubt that present-day Pacquiao has the killer instinct to put the tough-as-nails Aussie away before the final bell.

    With a knockout for either fighter unlikely, Horn would have to take Pacquiao to school to leave Brisbane with an unbeaten record on Sunday, picking his shots and slowing ‘Pac-Man’ down with a torrent of blows to the body before capitalizing with a right-hand.

    I just don’t see it happening.

    The truth is, if you searched the internet for hours on end you would struggle to find anyone from the other six continents who gives Horn anything more than a fighting chance, and there’s a reason for that.

    Count on Pacquiao to disappoint 55,000-plus fans, cruising to the finish line with a comfortable lead during Sunday afternoon’s ‘Battle of Brisbane’.

    Justin Faux
    Justin Faux

    Justin Faux is a seasoned combat sports scribe. Covering mixed martial arts and boxing since 2007, Justin has been published on NineMSN Australia, Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and dozens of other outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @justinfauxmma.

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • July 1st 2017 @ 10:08am
      PACMANUSA said | July 1st 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

      Well I wish the Aussie no ill will , however I hope Pacquiao takes him out in six rounds .

    • July 1st 2017 @ 10:22am
      The Grafter said | July 1st 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      From where I see it Justin, if Jeff can go the distance and look ok that is a victory.

      Although 38, and certainly not what he was, this is a massive step up for Horn.

      Unfortunately he gets hit to easily, and I’m picking Pacquiao s speed, angles and class to give him his first stoppage since Cotto in 2009 and get the early flight home after 6 rounds. I agree with both Jeff Fenech re using his size and sitting on Pacmans chest, and Justin Fortune about his build up in the US with hardened, different sparring partners.

      The fight is getting a lot of publicity here in the US, and being on ESPN here (as is Terrence Crawford next fight) can only help Jeff Horns profile.

      As much as I admire Manny as a person and a fighter, and he is the only man to win in 8 different weight classes, I can’t have him as a top ten of all time boxer. Perhaps that debate is for another day.

      Nice article Justin.

      • Roar Guru

        July 1st 2017 @ 11:56am
        BigJ said | July 1st 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        Grafter, top tens are my department and Pacquiao is in there, how can he not be???

        • July 1st 2017 @ 12:11pm
          The Grafter said | July 1st 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          I would be interested in your top ten. If PAC is there, mayweather who hasn’t lost since the 96 Olympics is ahead of him. That leaves 8 sports.

          Robinson
          Ali
          Louis
          Dempsey
          Fitzsimmons
          Pep
          Leonard
          Duran

          There’s 8. Could I ask where you put the following

          Armstrong
          Whitaker
          Mon on
          Marciano
          Hagler
          Chavez
          Greb

          And that’s just off the top of my head.

          • Roar Guru

            July 1st 2017 @ 3:50pm
            BigJ said | July 1st 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

            Really sugar ray above Ali???. I admit the list would be easy and it would get the crap kicked out of it in a debate. But thats why i do the lists.

            • July 1st 2017 @ 5:09pm
              The Grafter said | July 1st 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

              Many smarter judges than myself have Ray Robinson as the greatest. As a purist, you should know that.

              Please do some research on the other names and kick away.

              Most of them fought in an era where there was eight weight divisions and eight champions.

              I would be really interested how you can get the Pacman with the fourth version of the welterweight division into the ten or even 20 greatest ever boxers going back to Sullivan.

              But as you say, your the top ten king so I’m sure you can make a solid case.

              • Roar Guru

                July 1st 2017 @ 5:19pm
                BigJ said | July 1st 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

                Im hardly the top ten king but ill take the compliment thanks mate Pacquiao 11 worlds title in eight division shoukd be enough But your there are alot better fighters our there.

              • July 1st 2017 @ 6:24pm
                The Grafter said | July 1st 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

                Yes my friend.

                Those men named fought when there was one, then two titles.

                You have this idea in your head about Pacman being top ten p4p of all time and I’m not going to change it.

                I would be surprised if any reputable organisation would have Manny in their top 30 of all time let alone ten.

              • July 1st 2017 @ 8:50pm
                Jake said | July 1st 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

                *You’re

    • Roar Guru

      July 1st 2017 @ 12:01pm
      BigJ said | July 1st 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

      Justin your final paragraph is a sad ending but with the fight tommorrow it may come true

      • July 1st 2017 @ 12:07pm
        Johnybulldog said | July 1st 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        Hey BJ,how do you see the fight paning out mate!

    • Roar Guru

      July 1st 2017 @ 12:56pm
      BigJ said | July 1st 2017 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

      I think that Justins evaluation is spot on. Pacquiao dancing to the judges scorecards sadly.

    • July 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm
      Johnybulldog said | July 1st 2017 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

      Hope ur wrong mate.

      • Roar Guru

        July 1st 2017 @ 3:53pm
        BigJ said | July 1st 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

        Me too mate, me too. I have written a couple of articles last night on the fight and on Horn’s chances. I hope that they are published, as i would like to know people opinions on his chances. He does have a chance of victory no matter how small

    • July 1st 2017 @ 5:54pm
      Johnybulldog said | July 1st 2017 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

      Well despite our NRL Differences of opinion BJ,and I thank u for taking it easy on my Doggies in a tough time…we are Aussies & I love ur passion mate….Shhhh don’t tell Bazza 😉 I’ll go have a sly lobster & hope mate….GO THE HORNET….

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