A younger, hungrier Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) used his size and strength advantages to press a 38-year old Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) to the brink Sunday morning in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and received a narrow and controversial twelve round decision victory for his efforts.
Horn came out very fast and looked to press the smaller Pacquiao in the opening round, throwing shots with knockout intentions. He wrestled and pushed Pacquiao around to surprise the defending champion and the entire audience watching in the first six minutes. Pacquiao settled down in the third round and began to land at a very high clip in the ensuing rounds.
Horn continued coming forward in the middle rounds and cut Pacquiao badly high on his hairline above both eyes with two separate, hard headbuts. Pacquiao was covered in blood midway through the fight and looked uncomfortable as a result.
Showing the heart of a champion the Filipino superstar dug deep and rallied after the midway point, and in Round 9 battered Horn all around the ring. The bout was nearly stopped after the conclusion of the stanza when the referee went to the Horn corner saying he wanted to stop the bout. The corner protested and they were indulged with a warning to show something.
When allowed to come out for Round 10 Horn rallied and scored well against a tired Pacquiao who spent a lot of energy going for the kill the round prior.
Rounds 11 and 12 were close with both fighters emptying the tanks.
After the final bell scores were read as 115-113 (x2) and a head-scratching 117-111 for the Aussie. The stunning decision gave the younger challenger the WBO welterweight title and kept his unbeaten run intact.
ESPN’s Teddy Atlas was dismayed saying he thought Pacquiao clearly won the fight. FightFan.com’s Ace Freeman had it 115-112 for Pacquiao.
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