Somewhere in the Federal District of Mexico City, Juan Manuel Marquez was watching Tim Bradley breaking down Jeff Horns decision victory over Pacquiao and scratching his head wondering what you have to do to get a decision over the Filipino icon. Watching Horn carry off Pacquiao’s belt and Tim Bradley break it down, must have caused Dinamita’s head to explode in pure shock. He beat Pac’s ass way better than either Bradley or Horn did and had nothing to show for in their first three fights. Ironically I recently listed my list of 20 worst decisions of the last 20 years (link below).
Ironically I recently listed my list of 20 worst decisions of the last 20 years (link below).
Saturday night’s WBO Welterweight dog fight certainly doesn’t appear on this list. This was a scrap, a dogfight, and old-school brawl your grandfather use to tell you about. What made this intriguing is for the fist time maybe ever, we say Manny Pacquiao outworked, outpunched and out-hustled. Horn displayed an awkward approach that Pacquiao never got comfortable with and a relentless attack. Horn was fearless and he made Pacquiao look like the smaller man physically he was able to push him around and impose his will on him something much bigger guys like Margarito, Mosley, De La Hoya and Cotto couldn’t.
This being said Manny wasn’t exactly bullied around the ring and certainly had plenty of moments throughout the fight. This was made abundantly clear by the state of Horn’s face. Manny landed beautiful counter shots and dominated from the second round through the fifth and in reality, took a 4-1 lead and looked to be in a fight but to be in control of that fight. As the bell rang to begin the sixth round something seemed to change. Maybe it was the heat, the sun and the jet lag taking an affect on the out of town fighter, maybe it was father time catching up to the Pac-man or maybe it was simply the bigger stronger Horn imposing his will on the legendary fighter. But something certainly changed, and what was, how long can Horn hang around? Changed to, could he actually win?
From the sixth round on an entertaining fight, Pac seemed to be controlling turned into an all out brawl-out. One that could be scored in a variety of ways, the 9th round was certainly Pacquiao’s round but most of the other rounds were up for grabs and open to interpretation. Did you think that Manny landed the cleaner shot or did you prefer the ring generalship of Horn and his constant pressure and work rate? Every other round was pretty close. In full disclosure, I scored the fight 115-112 for Pacquiao. I gave the Hornet (1,6,8,10,12) and Pac took rounds (2,3,4,5,7,9,11) I also gave Manny a 10-8 round in the 8th, which I was about the only thing I agreed with Teddy Atlas on.
I disagree with the decision I thought Pacquiao won enough rounds early and I think he landed cleaner shots that offset the aggression and effort of the very game challenger. However, if other judges scored the fight for the ring generalship and aggression of Horn that is a completely legitimate way to score the fight as well. Pacquiao has won many rounds in his career based mainly on his work rate and punch output. My only worry is that Horn was awarded close rounds because he was doing way better than anyone anticipated.
I was surprised when I heard the scorecards, but I wasn’t angry. What angered me was the response of one Teddy Atlas, Atlas knows the fight game inside and out. However, this is becoming a reoccurring theme. Seemingly, every time Atlas disagrees with the judges, it’s a robbery, it’s a black eye for boxing and there is probably corruption involved. No Teddy, these comments from a highly respected boxing voice like yours is bad for boxing. Before the 12th round and again after the fight Tim Bradley tried to explain the fight was really close but Atlas wanted to hear none of that.There was a fight on Friday night that was quite a tussle where two of three judges scored it 12-0 nor Robert Easter, that’s a little weird. I scored this fight for Pacquiao there was nothing weird or inappropriate about this decision.