The weatherman promised sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60’s and he delivered, much to the satisfaction of the throng that descended on Brisbane’s SunCorp Stadium for the biggest boxing event in the history of Australia. And the Aussies that came hoping to see one of their own produce a monumental upset were rewarded when Jeff Horn was accorded a unanimous decision over defending WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao – a decision that will be debated for years.
Those that thought that Horn was easy meat for the fabled Filipino had second thoughts very early on. In appearance the Aussie looked to be about 15 pounds heavier than Pac-Man and size mattered. While the verdict was dubious, it was a good action fight. Indeed, after the second round ESPN commentator Joe Tessitore declared that the fight had already produced more action than occurred in all 12 rounds of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
In round 3, Horn was cut above his right eye. By the end of the fight, the right side of his face was a mask of crimson. But Pac-Man was also cut, the result of two accidental head butts that opened gashes on both sides of his forehead.
There were no knockdowns, but Pacquiao had a strong 10th round – so strong that Minnesota referee Mark Nelson (don’t be surprised if he gets the Mayweather-McGregor assignment; you heard it here first) warned Horn’s corner at the end of the round that he would stop it “unless you show me something.” But the gritty Horn stayed the course and did enough to impress the judges.
The scores were 115-113, 115-113, and a curious 117-111, tallies that called to mind the words of a grizzled old fight manager: “The road is a treacherous place.”
In the co-main, Filipino junior bantamweight Jerwin Ancajas successfully defended his IBF belt with a seventh round stoppage of Teiru Kinoshita. Ancajas opened a cut over Kiroshita’s right eye in the second round and the Japanese challenger was swimming upstream from that point on. His corner succeeded in controlling the cut, but not the swelling and the injured eye was completely shut when Ancajas put an end to the proceedings with a vicious right hook to the liver. Kiroshita managed to beat the count but the ref properly saw no reason to let the one-sided fray go forward.
In a competitive 8-round middleweight match, Canberra’s David Toussaint nipped Shane Mosely Jr. by a split decision, improving to 11-0. Mosley did his best work in the late rounds, but it was too little, too late.
In a bout scheduled for six, Top Rank’s prize bantamweight prospect Michael Conlan advanced to 3-0 with a third round stoppage of Brisbane’s overmatched Jarrett Owen. The fight was waved off after Conlan landed several good body shots followed by a succession of overhand rights. Owen didn’t appear to be in serious distress, but the stoppage was warranted as Owen was in a survivor’s mode from the opening bell and had zero chance of getting back in the fight.
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