By Arun Patel, 02/07/2017
Who the hell is Horn?
Like most I wondered, who the hell is Jeff Horn! And why is Manny fighting him? With the welterweight division being one of the best at the moment with names such as Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr, Kell Brook. I could name a few more but we all get the idea of how tough a division this, how has Horn got a shot at Manny? Well, it seems Jeff Horn is ranked as the number one contender by the WBO and if he wasn’t mandatory now for Manny he would have been sooner or later. But still, The Ring Magazine do not have him as a top 10 in their list for welterweights.
Based on my research, it seems Horn is a 29 year old Aussie with an unbeaten record: 16 wins and a draw. Seems impressive enough until you see he has never fought outside Australia and looking at his record he hasn’t really fought any names on notes. His last couple of wins against Rico Mueller and Ali Funeka both last year – hardly names to get you excited! Furthermore he has only gone 94 rounds. Contrast that with Manny’s last 3 opponents – Mayweather, Timothy Bradley Jr and Jessie Vargas. He has gone over 400 rounds in the ring. Surely a mismatch!
So does he really have a chance against one of the biggest names in boxing? Well I was surprised I could get 1/7 on Manny I was expecting far shorter. However I opted for Manny to KO Horn at 5/4.I added to that Horn on points at 14/1.
Never bet on a sure thing
So the fight, was it worth staying awake all night for it? Absolutely. It was a great contest to watch. As for the result, stunning. Horn deserved it, he was the better of the two on the night. Pacquiao just wasn’t anywhere near his best. The fight itself was fast paced, it was scrappy and a little dirty in places, but there is nothing wrong with that. Horn came out fast, he said his right hand would win it for him and it did. Early on he started landed with it. Whilst he never really hurt Pacquiao, he was landing his punches all the same while Pacquiao couldn’t find his rhythm. Horn was the quicker of the two boxers. Even a cut early on didn’t stop Horn going forward and it is where he won the fight.
Then came the cuts to Pacquiao from two accidental headbutts. One on either side of the head. A stoppage at this stage, would have still seen a Horn win on points as was clearly ahead.
From the seventh round of the fight Pacquiao seemed to step up a gear and dominate a tiring Horn. In the 9th it looked like Pacquiao had the fight. Horn was wobbling clearly, his work rate in the early rounds taking its toll, and I would have bet at the point on Pacquiao stopping Horn. The ref was close to stopping the fight and told Horn if he didn’t see more of him in the 10th he would end the fight. Horn’s response was to come out strong. I don’t know if the effort in the 9th took its toil but Pacquiao seemed to step off the gas. Horn had the better of the final few rounds and the fight went to the judges. All three judges gave the fight to Horn. Whilst I think one judge view must have been obstructed to score it 117-111, you couldn’t argue against the other two who gave it 115-113.
Is Horn a world beater?
So what do I make of Horn now. Clearly he is no pushover, he worked hard in the ring and clearly has plenty of stamina. But would he be able to mix it against the other belt holders at welterweight? I don’t think so. Errol Spence Jr would be far quicker and punch far harder than Pacquiao. Horn coming onto Spence would end the same way as Brook did. As for Thurman, I think he is too smart a boxer to be beaten by Horn. Shawn Porter tried to put Thurman on the back foot and Thurman simply moved and picked him off. Credit to Horn for a win but I still think he is a level below the very top fighters in the division.
As for Pacquiao, the inevitable questions will be asked about his future. At 38 is it time he called it a day? I hope so. In the fight he was second best. Either he completely underestimated Horn or time has caught up with him. He only briefly found a rhythm, didn’t really connect with his punches and spent much of the fight on the back foot. This was certainly not the Pacquiao of old. However I think he will go on, I am sure he will want a rematch. He will believe the cuts had a major impact on the outcome and maybe it did.
Either way it was a good fight to watch and I had the bonus of a couple of pounds at 14/1 for a points victory by Horn coming off!