How Jeff Horn shocked the world

Justin Faux Columnist

By , Justin Faux is a Roar Expert

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    When the final bell sounded after today’s WBO welterweight title fight in Brisbane, the bloodied, beaten, and exhausted underdog Jeff Horn didn’t look like a winner.

    The 29-year-old title challenger was a bloody mess. So bad that just a few minutes earlier, between the ninth and ten round, the referee threatened to call the fight off.

    “I’m about to stop the fight, you need to show me something in this round,” he warned.

    Horn nodded, then proceeded to find his second wind, bravely wading forward at Manny Pacquiao, landing a few meaningful blows to display some sign of life.

    Pacquiao, the only eight-division world champion in history, has won fights before the bell even sounds in the past. Fighters embellish his greatness, give him too much respect, and enter the bout mentally defeated.

    It was clear from the opening bell that win lose or draw, Horn wouldn’t fall into the same trap. The bigger fighter flashed his power, clipping Pacquiao early and often.

    Horn continued to rough Pacquiao up, using his obvious strength advantage to bully the future Hall of Famer against the ropes. Even in rounds that he clearly lost, the rough-and-tumble approach to the fight allowed ‘The Hornet’ to be a constant threat.

    When the final bell sounded, the dark horse raised his hands and walked around the ring to the delight of 55,000-plus Aussie fans.

    Then the decision came in. All three judges awarded the fight to Horn, with scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113.

    The sound that came next was absolutely deafening. The elated fans screamed, jumping in the air, some even hugging strangers.

    But not everyone was pleased. Seasoned fight commentator and former coach Teddy Atlas was so incensed that he almost had a meltdown on camera.

    “They gave a trophy, a win, a huge win, to Horn, the local kid, for trying hard,” the visibly frustrated commentator yelled. “You’re not supposed to get it for trying hard.”

    Atlas wasn’t alone. Most boxing pundits scored the fight for Pacquiao, myself included. I had the 39-year-old veteran winning with a score of 115-113.

    Contrary to the belief of Atlas, there was no robbery in Queensland, though, and there is no need for us to gather our torches and pitchforks.

    Pacquiao won, on my personal scorecard, but not by a mile. It was a close contest, and the neverending pressure of Horn took its toll on the great ‘Pac Man’.

    I cannot, however, excuse Waleska Roldan’s 117-111 score. By that tally, Horn won nine of the 12 rounds, which is ridiculous.

    This isn’t the first time that Pacquiao was on the wrong side of a controversial call, though. In 2012 the Filipino puncher dropped a ludicrous split decision to Timothy Bradley.

    Since then, Pacquiao has twice avenged that loss – and he plans to do the same to Horn.

    “Absolutely, yes,” Pacquiao said when quizzed about fighting Horn for a second time. “We have a rematch clause, so no problem.”

    With many already suggesting there was some hometown cooking in the River City, the rematch will almost certainly get pulled from Australia, likely to be hosted in Las Vegas, the home for most of Pacquiao’s recent bouts.

    The 29-year-old ex-school teacher, who has never fought professionally outside of Australia, will have to fight on Pacquiao’s terms in the rematch and will probably be cast as a big underdog again.

    But for tonight at least, Horn is the champion and Australia’s newest sporting hero.

    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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