Pacquiao-Horn fight illustrates what's wrong with boxing
With Manny Pacquiao and underdog Jeff Horn going the distance, using all 12 rounds, the entire sport of boxing joins the two fighters in waking up with a black eye the next day after Horn was gifted a unanimous decision victory.
Judge Waleska Roldan scored it 117-111, and judges Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan each gave Horn a slight edge,115-113. ESPN.com scored the fight 117-111 the other way, for Pacquiao, and ESPN ringside analyst Teddy Atlas also gave Pacquiao the victory.
Everyone who watched the fight except the judges seemed to see the obvious: Pacquiao out-classed Horn, battering him to the point that Referee Mark Nelson nearly ended the fight after the ninth round. Nelson said Horn needed to "show him something" otherwise he was going to call it. While Horn looked passable in the final three rounds, the numbers don't lie.
Pacquiao was the more efficient and effective boxer, connecting on more punches while throwing fewer than Horn, and he was only out-punched by his opponent in one round.
Atlas, one of the commentators for the fight, was clearly displeased with the outcome after watching the fight up close, as was Stephen A. Smith, who put into the words the feelings many people head about the judges' design.
So how, you might ask, did Horn win the fight after being clearly outclassed? Well, Horn, a native of Brisbane, Australia, was boxing in Brisbane. Another reason is the age of the two fighters. Pacquiao is 38 with only a few fights left before retirement. Horn,29, has a long career ahead of him, which makes it plausible that boxing took at page out of the WWE playbook and determined to give fight to the boxer who has more future marketability. Even though Pacquiao proved he was the superior fighter, he's left with his title belt changing hands.
Granted, there's no way to prove that's the case, but it seems like the most plausible scenario.
When Horn was asked how he "won" the fight after the decision was announced, he sounded as confused as you and me.
"I don't know," Horn said. "I guess with the crowd behind me and all the support." That doesn't sound like a man who just won a title belt. Perhaps it's because the judges were told to slant their scoring in Horn's favor if the fight was close.
The reason last night's fight wasn't a Pay-Per-View event and shown on ESPN free of charge is because boxing is struggling to stay afloat.
Fortunately for the sport, there is a contractual rematch clause, so in all likelihood, this wasn't the last time we'll see these two go toe-to-toe in the ring.
"Absolutely, yes," Pacquiao said when asked if he would fight Horn again in Australia. "We have a rematch clause, so no problem."
This fight was supposed to generate interest and it did, but the sport is considered to be"rigged" with Pacquiao vs. Horn as clear-cut evidence. That's the one unanimous decision boxing didn't want to see.