Boxing is full of great stories, and boxing is also full of fighters getting old. Sometimes those stories cross, and that was the case earlier today as we saw former teacher Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11) score a huge upset over Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38) and claim the WBO Welterweight title, and one of the biggest upsets of 2017.
Horn was supposed to be the next victim for Pacquiao and the start of a farewell retirement tour for the Filipino icon. Horn however fought like a man possessed and showed real energy, determination and confidence from the off, letting his hands go and forcing Pacquiao backwards immediately. The assault and energy from Horn really seemed to shock Pacquaio who struggled to much of note during the first 3 rounds. Though what the Filipino did land was damaging and left Horn with a nasty cut around the right eye.
Horn looked to try and keep the high energy work going in round 4, but seemed to slow a little giving Pacquiao some openings, with Pacquiao landing an eye catching right hook and a solid body shot. The Filipino seemed to begin finding some sort of a rhythm, but Horn was continuing to have his successes as well.
Although Pacquiao had successes in round 4 he didn't seem able to keep it up in round 5 as Horn bullied him and landed some solid shots. Again Pacquiao had his moments, and there was some argument for him winning the round but he failed to make it decisive as he really needed to given the amount of leather Horn was throwing.
Going in to round 6 Horn's eye was getting worse however he wasn't the only one ending the round bloodied as an accidental clash of heads left Pacquaio with a bad cut on the hairline, with blood instantly running down the side of his face. Following the headclash the rest of round 6 was messy, with little clean work of note until late when Horn landed several good right hands and actually seemed to wobble Pacquiao.
With blood running down his face Pacquiao came out for round 7 with bad intentions but struggled to have any major consistency against the Australian, who landed some solid right hands before another clash of heads left Pacquaio with a second hairline cut, this time on the other side of his head. A bloodied Pacquiao seemed like a wounded animal and Horn went hunting his prey, but was caught by a very eye catching uppercut in the final moments of the round.
Pacquiao managed to have a real charge in round 8 as Horn began to slow, and tire. There was a large chant for the local but a huge body shot by Pacquiao and a few eye catching punches late in the round were more than Horn could manae, with the local doing landing little more than asingle notable right hand. Pacquiao built on his success in round 9, a round that saw him batter Horn around the ring in the bouts most 1-sided round, that saw him do everything but drop the Australian. Horn seemed to be running on empty and it looked like a stoppage was on the cards for the Filipino.
Before round 10 the referee went over to Horn, who was sat on the stool following the terrible round 9, and said he needed to see something from the Australian or he was going to stop the bout. The words from the referee seemed to reignite the fire in Horn who struggled early in the round but began to put on a real fight back late in the round as a tired Pacquiao looked like a man who had worn himself out with the big effort in the previous round. It wasn't a clear round for Horn, but it was more than enough to convince the referee that he was fine, and that he wasn't as spent as he had looked in round 9.
The rejuvenating powers of Horn were proven again in round 11 as he seemed to take the fight to Pacquiao again and despite taking some solid shots from the Filipino he was the man pressing the action and forcing the fight. It was clear that Pacquiao was landing the better blows, but Horn seemed to out work him, even if the shots weren't as eye catching as those form the Filipino.
The final round saw Horn again on the front foot, and dragging Pacquiao into a fire fight with the round finishing in a brilliant and eye catching back and forth brawl that seemed to show Pacquiao hurt again. It was a great finish to what had been a unexpectedly great fight, and a great effort from both men.
With the bout going the distance the cards were read out, with scores of 117-111 and 115-113, twice, all of which favoured Horn giving him a career defining victory.
With the win Horn becomes the new champion and potentially lines up some major pay days, such as a rematch with Pacquiao or a bout with Terrence Crawford. For Pacquiao, who never looked even a shadow of his former self, the bout could be the end, and at 38 it may be the perfect time to bow out of the sport. He has nothing left to prove, and seemed to come up against a younger, hungrier and more determined fighter. If it had been the Pacquiao of old there is little doubt he'd have battered Horn, like he did to Miguel Cotto, but this wasn't the Pacquiao of 7 or 8 years ago. Instead it's the Pacquiao of 2017.
Although the decision has been decried by some as controversial, with Dan Rafael and Teddy Atlas both scoring the bout comfortably in favour of Pacquiao,it does seem like father time really has caught up with Pacquiao and that size played a major factor here. Horn seemed, at times, to be too big and too strong, and too hungry for the old, small and battle worn Pacquiao.
Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38) might be heading towards his 38th birthday, and may have retired earlier this year, but he rolled the clock back big time earlier today as he reclaimed the WBO Welterweight title and dominated Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10).
From the opening round it looked like Pacquiao had all the tools to reclaim the throne as the best Welterweight on the planet. He seemed far too quick, too sharp and too powerful for Vargas, who looked game throughout but could never match the ability of Pacquiao.
The success of Pacquiao, from the opening round, seemed to be focused on him landing his vaunted left hand which Vargas had little answer for. Whilst Vargas did have some success with his own right hand it was limited success, and only a shot here or there whilst he was forced to take a steady stream of shots from Pacquiao, ranging from the thunderbolt left hand to various hooks, uppercuts and even the occasionally nasty jab.
The power of Pacquiao was visible through out. He dropped Vargas in round 2 with massive left hand, left Vargas swollen around the right side of his face and had him wobbling at various times in the latter stages.
Whilst in total control going into the latter rounds Pacquiao seemed to put on cruise control and hold back rather than let his hands really go with bad intent. It seemed, on a number of occasions, that if he had gone for the stoppage he'd have manage to force it, with Vargas's senses looking scrambled at several points.
Whilst Vargas was thoroughly out boxed and outfought he did show some fire, some willing and never gave up trying to land his right hand. Sadly though Vargas' inability to consistently land his right hand, control the bout with his jab or force his fight allowed Pacquiao to almost get away with cruising to the victory.
Two of the cards had Pacquiao winning the bout clearly, a result that most saw, amazingly however one judge had the bout amazingly close with just a point between the two men, a crazy score-card. Sadly that third card could end up being a major talking point with the bout it's self unlikely to live long in the memory, despite the fact that it's seen Manny Pacquiao being crowned a world champion once again.
For Pacquiao the future seems like a ring return in 2017 is likely whilst Vargas will go back to the drawing board, but will almost certainly be back himself at some point during the next 12 months.
Late on Saturday we finally got “the big one” as the sports two leading fighters finally met in the ring in a bout to find out who really was the best pound-for-pound fighter of their era and who would end the night as the ruler of the Welterweight division.
In one corner we had Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao, who entered the bout as the WBO Welterweight champion, the pride of the Philippines and the clear under-dog. In the other corner was WBA/WBC unified champion Floyd Mayweather, an unbeaten American star that was referring to himself as “The Best Ever”.
The fight, billed as the “Fight of the Century”, unfortunately, though predictably, failed to live up to the billing and it looked like two men who were past their primes each putting on a performance that suggested the end was neigh.
The fight started tentatively with Manny beginning very slowly and Mayweather claiming the round with a couple of right hands. The second round was also quiet with Mayweather being forced back at times but doing enough to avoid the assault from the Filipino. It was far from exciting yet it was compelling with a feeling that it could come to life at any time.
The fight did, for a few moments, come alive at the end of round 3 as Pacquiao managed to up the pace and continued to keep the pace up in round 4 as the Filipino took his first clear round. It was a round that showed that Pacquiao could trouble Mayweather and could land his left hand at times. Unfortunately Mayweather managed to stifle the assaults with holding, something that became a real problem in the middle rounds when Mayweather held repeatedly, and although he received warnings, little was really done by Kenny Bayless.
The success from round 4 was rarely replicated from Pacquiao with rounds 6 and 8 being among his better rounds as Mayweather started to show off all the tricks in his arsenal. They ranged from his accurate jab to sharp rights, from intelligent movement to spoiling. It prevented Pacquiao from building momentum and kept the Filipino at range where he was much less effective than he'd have hoped to have been
By the end of the fight Mayweather seemed happy to coast, as he typically does in round 12, and whilst it was frustrating it was down to Pacquiao to up the tempo, something he failed to do.
At the final bell both men celebrated though it seemed clear that Mayweather had done more than enough to claim a competitive but clear win, something that was shown on two of the cards that read 116-112, the third card however seemed too wide at 118-112.
Whilst it was billed as something special the fight really never really came close to living up to the expectations. As predicted by many this was more a case of Marvin Hagler Vs Sugar Ray Leonard than Marvin Hagler Vs Tommy Hearns. It had it's moments but on the whole it failed to come alive, that is, however, a testament to Floyd Mayweather Jr (48-0, 26) who appears set to fight once more before retiring and will likely be defending 3 world titles when he returns to the ring. For Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38) the loss will be a set back, but he'll be back and there is no doubt that he'll manage to remain an icon in the Philippines.
Before every Manny Pacquiao (57-3-2, 38) fight we seem to hear that the Filipino fighter is on the slide, isn't hungry and isn't what he once was. We won't suggest that he's in his prime, he certainly isn't, but he is still a top fighter as we saw again this past Sunday morning when he successfully defended the WBO Welterweight title and clearly beat brave American Chris Algieri (20-1, 8) in a one-sided contest in Macau
The bout started in relatively tame and unexciting fashion with Algieri moving a lot and throwing little. Every time Pacquiao landed anything the crowd cheered the Filipino who didn't seem to land much in the first round but did, clearly, out land Algieri. We saw something similar in the second round though Pacquiao did manage to connect with more solid shots that ended up marking up the left eye of Algieri. The key talking point of the second round was a botched call by the referee when Algieri slipped on the water in Pacquiao's corner, it was the first of 6 official knockdowns during the fight.
In the third round Pacquiao continued to take charge though was looking like a bull rather than a talented boxer. It wasn't that Pacquiao doesn't have the skills, he just refused to respect Algieri and was happy to take excessive risks in the attempt to land a clean bomb or two, sadly those bombs were limited in success with Algieri rarely standing still for long enough for Pacquiao to let shots go.
By the end of round 4 it was difficult to see what Algieri had in the locker and he was forced to take some solid and hard shots, including a major uppercut. It was impressive that Algieri withstood it without going down though it seemed that Algieri was going to begin taking bigger shots on a more regular basis. The only thing really saving Algieri from serious punishment was his insane engine that allowed him to move almost every second of every round.
It wasn't until round 6 that Pacquiao seemed to be able to get close enough to Algieri for long enough to do real damage which he eventually did following a hard left hand which was followed up in style as he sent Algieri down for a legitimate knockdown. Algieri managed to recover though was down again, albeit another water-related slip as Pacquiao recorded a 10-7 round and moved into a nigh on unassailable lead.
Despite being 9 points down after just 6 rounds Algieri was given copious amounts of encouragement from his trainer who appeared to be completely deluded and unaware of what was going on in the ring. Rather than admitting that Algieri was in trouble was repeating the mantra of being “exactly where we wanna be baby”, a very confusing assessment of what was actually going on in the ring,
Rounds and 7 and 8 were some of Algieri's best as he connected with a number of clean right hands but they merely bounced off the Filipino who landed his own, more eye catching and effective, shots. Algieri's biggest problem was he stuck in a mentality of needing to move to survive and as a result his output was far too low and his power too lacking to really cause Pacquiao to think twice about what he was doing.
It appeared that Algieri was growing in confidence and was having success in neutralising Pacquiao early in round 9. That was short lived however and a monster left hand from the Filipino fighter dropped Algieri hard. The American appeared to get a very long count and was looking out on his feet though the referee deemed him fit to continue. Pacquiao jumped on his man, smelling blood and soon afterwards Algieri was down for the second time in the round. Pacquiao was then in kill mode and went to destroy his pray. Shot after shot reigned in from the Filipino and appeared he had forced the referee to step in. Instead of the stoppage however it was a poor positioning issue of the referee that led to real confusion when he really should have stepped in.
Having just managed to see out round 9 it was surprising to see Algieri get sent out for round 10 and several times in the round he appeared to wobble. Those however were the final scares for Algieri who had recovered his senses by the start of round 11 and saw out the final 2 rounds with out much in terms of real danger.
Having completely dominated the bout there was little real question about the score cards which read 119-103, 119-103 and 120-102 all in favour of Pacquiao.
Now the talk, of course, goes back to a Pacquiao Vs Mayweather bout, a bout that should have been made back in 2010. By now the bout has lost a lot of it's allure, it's something we still all want, of course, but not something that will define the sport as it would have done a few years ago. A few years ago the two were the stand out fighters, now both have slid whilst we've seen the rise of Roman Gonzalez, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Gennady Golovkin all of whom have managed to take attention away from Pacquiao and Mayweather and new fights have becoming interesting. What was one the fight everyone wanted is now just another fight and if it's made, as rumoured, for May 5th then it's likely to the swansong for the loser as opposed to a bout that could have put either man among the greats.
For Algieri this loss was a painful one though hopefully it won't be one that sends him into obscurity. He's a talented and likeable fighter and we'd love to hear him on a microphone, following in the footsteps of Paulie Malignaggi, as well as seeing him fighting other non-elite fighters. Perhaps strangely we would favour Algieri against almost anyone at Light Welterweight, including Danny Garcia, if Algieri is to drop back down a weight. At Welterweight the scene might be too tough for him though we'd still like to see him in with some of them to see how good he really is.
In the most anticipated rematch of the year we got a wrong righted and Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38) got his long over-due victory over American Timothy Bradley (31-1-0-1, 12) and reclaimed him WBO Welterweight title.
The opening round was close and it could have gone either way. Neither man stamped their authority on it and it was a typical feeling out round. It was, if you will, round 1 of the fight and not round 13 of the rivalry which had of course began 2 years ago when Bradley had taken a controversial and much debated split decision over the Filipino fighter.
Although the opening round had been quiet the fight really picked up in the second round as Bradley tried to turn the contest in to a dog fight. This saw Bradley charging in, trying to break down Pacquiao's body whilst leaving himself open to the much vaunted straight lefts of Pacquiao which landed time and time again. It was a brilliant round and showed the type of action a big fight like this deserves as both men put it on the line.
The action from the second round continued through rounds 3 and 4 as both men connected with bombs on each other. Bradley continued to attack the body, almost as if his entire game plan was based on breaking Pacquiao's body and destroying his speed and stamina with the body assault. It great to watch as both men dug their heels in and went to work with bad intentions and it was clear that the intensity couldn't last, at least one man was going to have to change their tactics and slow down or they'd both burn out by the championship rounds.
Unfortunately for Bradley it was he that had to slow down. The insane intensity and energy he had put into rounds 2,3, and 4 had taken it's toll on him and although neither man really really won round 5 it was clear the pace was being felt more by the American than the Filipino. Sure Pacquiao didn't dominate the fifth but it seemed like he was trying to find his rhythm whilst Bradley was just genuinely feeling like his energy reserves were dipping.
The sixth round seemed to prove that Pacquiao still had gas left as he he fired off the occasional, eye catching, combination including one very late in the round that brought the crowd to life despite mostly missing due to Bradley's incredibly movement with his head and body. Although it was a case of Pacquiao stealing the round it was something that seemed to irritate Bradley's corner man who seemed to feel that Bradley was beginning to the let the Filipino assume control.
If Bradley's trainer was frustrated after round 6 he was irate after round 7 as Pacquiao found a new gear and went to work whilst Bradley was against the ropes. Bradley, who even waved Pacquiao in, was looking for a counter punch to knockout Pacquiao but instead was forced to eat a series of big combinations before the bell in one of the most dominant rounds of the fight. It was as if Bradley had gone to plan D and that was to go for the run punch with out doing anything to set it up, just throw it and hope it connects. It was stupid tactic and one that failed, in fact it saw him giving away round 7.
Round 8 was slightly better from Bradley who tried to box cleverly though he didn't do nearly enough to win the round. It was another change of tactic that failed from the American who was almost cycling through ideas in desperation and his trainer couldn't help but show his anger at his charge shouting and swearing, trying to make his man use his brain.
Bradley was falling behind and fast. He needed something big to happen in his favour. Instead what happened was bad news for Bradley who appeared to hurt his leg when the two fighters came together in round 9. This saw Pacquiao smelling blood and unloading with some big shots that sent the crowd wild. It was as if both Pacquiao and the crowd could sense Bradley was a wounded animal and was there for the taking, worse yet for the American was that it seemed even he knew something was wrong as he went back to looking for a highlight reel KO. Bradley's trainer by now seemed out of ideas and lied to his fighter suggesting the fight was even, it had been difficult to give Bradley a round since round 5 at an absolute push.
The leg issues of Bradley from round 9 seemed to continue in round 10 as he flailed himself across the ring, completely off balance at times. It was a dream round for Pacquiao who got to land counters on Bradley as the American left himself open, throw wildly and began to look like a man running on fumes. Amazingly however Bradley showed his toughness to see out the round and even fought back in round 11. It was in round 11 that Bradley turned boxer, used his feet, and seemed to do enough to win the round. It was close but we gave him it and it his first in a long time as the cards had began to look very one sided. Had Bradley fought like that earlier, with his movement and pot shotting he may have been able to keep it close but by now he had needed a KO.
With the knowledge he needed a KO Bradley came our hard for round 12, his infamous will to win was put to the test. Unfortunately his will to win was less than Pacquioa's and the Filipino gave as good as he got in a thrilling round that saw both men trading and both men opening up, to varying degrees of success. Oddly, with less than 20 seconds to go, we got the first headclash of the fight with it opening a small cut on Pacquiao. With so little time left it hardly made sense for the doctor to look at it but they did before allowing the fight to continue to it's scheduled ending.
By the time we'd got to the final bell their was only going to be one winner, then again we all thought that last time. Thankfully the judges got it right this time scoring it 116-112, twice, and 118-110 to Pacquiao who picked up the victory many thought he had deserved 2 years ago.
After the fight the men got interviewed. Bradley mentioned that his leg was indeed injured during the fight whilst Pacquiao mentioned that his next fight would be left up to his promoter Bob Arum. The likely options for Pacquiao are either a rematch with Bradley, a rematch with nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez or the much touted superfight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
For note of interest, we had the bout 117-112 giving a 10-10 round in round 5 where we felt neither had done enough.
(Image courtesy of http://www.crownregency.com/)
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.