Former schoolteacher Jeff Horn stunned world champion Manny Pacquiao to win the World Boxing Organisation welterweight crown with a unanimous points decision in Brisbane on Sunday.
Given no chance by most observers, the 29-year-old Horn’s ultra-aggressive style proved too much for Pacquiao, with the three judges scoring the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 to the Australian after 12 rounds.
Pacquiao, 38, is an eight-weight world champion considered one of the greatest fighters of his generation. His camp had predicted a “short and sweet” win over Horn, a 2012 Australian Olympian.
But Horn showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion, taking the fight to the Filipino great from the opening bell.
He moved forward relentlessly, not allowing Pacquiao time to find any rhythm.
Pacquiao did manage to land some left jabs in the opening rounds to take the early points, but Horn refused to back away and his brawling tactics paid dividends through the middle stages.
Pacquiao, bleeding profusely from cuts to the head high above both eyes, then launched a savage counterattack in the ninth round and appeared to have Horn in trouble, only for the Australian to come back and win the 10th as he reasserted control.
Both fighters began to tire in the final two rounds but Horn’s early lead proved too much to peg back as he claimed the biggest win of his career.
Pacquiao had been hoping to set up a second big-money showdown with Floyd Mayweather, but it was Horn who called for a fight with the unbeaten American immediately after his win.
Hughie Fury will bid to emulate troubled cousin Tyson Fury and become a heavyweight world boxing champion as on Friday it was confirmed he will fight New Zealand’s WBO titleholder Joseph Parker on September 23rd.
It will be a doubly emotionally-charged night as the title fight will be at the Manchester Arena, where a suicide bomber blew himself up on May 22nd after the end of an Ariana Grande concert resulting in 22 dead and scores injured.
The 22-year-old Hughie – who like Tyson faces a hearing with UK-Anti Doping over allegations they tested positive for the steroid nandrolone in 2015 – said he would prove the sceptics wrong.
“I’ve waited so long for this chance and my team have worked very hard to get me this fight and I’d like to thank everyone involved,” said Fury.
“I’m going to shock the world and prove all my doubters wrong and what better place to do it than in my home city of Manchester.
“Parker is a good fighter and I’ve no doubt we’ll both bring our A-game on fight night. I can’t wait to be crowned world champion.”
The undefeated Fury has a fight lined-up next Saturday – his last combat was against Fred Kassi in April 2016.
He had been due to fight Parker on May 6th this year in New Zealand but had to pull out of the title challenge because of a back injury.
Parker – whose record reads 23 wins in 23 bouts with 18 knock-outs – said he wasn’t intimidated by having to fight on his challenger’s home turf.
“Fighting away from home holds no fears for me. I will arrive having previously fought on the undercard of a Wladimir Klitschko world title fight in Germany and also twice in America.
“I believe that with so many kiwis and Samoans living in the UK, I may even have more supporters in the crowd on fight night than Hughie Fury.”
Fury, who has a record of 20 wins with 10 inside the distance, had spoken in late May of his desire to bring some cheer to Manchester in the wake of the terror attack.
“My hope is that fighting in front of Manchester fans for the world title would help give the city some light after the darkness,” said Fury, who has never fought in Manchester.
“But even though I’m a fighter and go into the ring and take punches, the real heroes are the victims’ families who will now have to show incredible bravery to carry on with their everyday lives.
“The one thing that has really showed me the love and compassion of the people in the city, is how they have all pulled together in this terrible time.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Australian challenger Jeff Horn has made a massive blunder by not training against superior sparring partners in the United States in preparation for Sunday’s title fight, Manny Pacquiao’s team says.
The legendary 38-year-old Filipino, one of the greatest fighters of his generation, is widely tipped to overcome the unbeaten Horn in front of an expected 50,000 people at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
Pacquiao’s Australian strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune said Thursday the ‘Fighting Schoolteacher’ hasn’t done his homework and will be outclassed by the master eight-weight world champion.
People talk about Pacquiao like he's Cotto, some sort of legacy fighter. But Pacquiao waxed Bradley and Vargas last year. Still impressive.— adam abramowitz (@snboxing) June 25, 2017
“Manny is one of the greats and Jeff Horn is in a different league,” former heavyweight Fortune told reporters.
“If Manny puts his mind to it he destroys anybody in the world. He’s busted up some of the greats. Jeff Horn is the guy to knock out and we’re in the hurt business.”
Fortune, who once fought against Lennox Lewis, said Horn should have spent eight weeks in America against the best available sparring partners.
“Then you might have given him a real shot if he’d been training with A-grade guys all the time,” he said.
“Instead he’s been using (Filipino) Czar Amonsot as a sparring partner and he is nowhere near as fast as Manny.
“Horn won’t know what hit him because Manny is that quick.”
Fortune said he gave Horn no chance of causing a major boilover against the warrior known as ‘Pac Man’.
“People say ‘well, Manny hasn’t knocked anyone out in years’ but these are AAA guys, with pro-level experience, current or former world champions,” Fortune said.
“This guy (Horn) has nowhere near the experience at all. He hasn’t walked out in front of 50,000 people, ever.
“Nerves take a lot out of you when you fight. It’s actually terrible, there’s nothing you can do about it, happens to all of us.
“Manny’s done it, he’s used to it, it’s no big deal. Jeff’s not. I don’t think they’ve realised that.”
Horn defended his training strategy, saying he was more than happy using Amonsot, who is ranked number three with the World Boxing Association at junior welterweight (140lb, 63kg).
“It’s very hard for anyone to copy the style of Pacquiao but we got the closest thing out there that we could,” Horn said.
“I’ve definitely sparred the best I ever have for this preparation and I’m really happy with the rounds Czar gave me.”
Horn said while Pacquiao might be faster than him, he had an awkward style that the Filipino has not faced before.
“My style will give him problems and it’s a matter of timing him so that I can make him miss and land my hard shots,” he said.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) is one of the greats, while Horn, 29, has won 16 of his 17 bouts with one draw.
Pacquiao, who briefly retired last year before making a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in November, has not stopped an opponent since his 12th round TKO of Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Trainer Freddie Roach has suggested Sunday’s fight is a stepping stone for Pacquiao to secure a rematch with American rival Floyd Mayweather, who outpointed the Filipino in the “Fight of the Century” two years ago.
Provided by AFP Sport