Freelance: Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn Preview and Prediction
It appears than Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao retirement tour is getting underway. The three-time World Boxing Organization welterweight (147-pound) champion and Filipino senator (59-6-2, 38 KO/TKOs) will take on relative unknown Australian Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO/TKOs.)
Pacquiao initially retired in April of 2016 following a unanimous decision victory over Timothy Bradley Jr., a fight that ESPN’s Dan Rafael said Top Rank Boxing executive Bob Arum refused to promote as a retirement fight. Pacquio would then return to the sport after winning his senate seat. He would all but destroy “Ruthless” Jessie Vargas (27-2-0, 10 KO/TKOs.)
“Why stop my boxing career? So, I changed my mind and decided to continue my journey,” Pacquiao said to boxing media in November. “Public service is my calling but boxing is my passion. I realized this summer I was not ready to retire from the ring. I made history when I became the first congressman to win a world title and now that the good people of the Philippines have elected me to the senate, I want to make more history by becoming the first senator to win a world title.”
The Odds: Heading into the Horn fight though, Pacquiao is Bovada’s favorite at -650 while Horn is the +425 underdog as of June 21.
Why This Fight is a Shot at Glory for Horn
The fight seems to already be leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many in the boxing community with some focusing on the fact that Horn is decent looking and nice rather than discussing his boxing, which could at best be described as mid-level due to the quality (or lack thereof) of his opponents. The men that he has faced up to now have ranged from a one to three-star rating on BoxRec.com.
Pacquiao debuted in the U.S. all the way back in 2001 but his profession pugilism career dates back to January of 1995. He would put together a 31-2 record before taking the fight against the now 36-6-1 Lehlo “Hands of Stone” Ledwaba (who retired in 2006) in “the fight capitol of the world,” Las Vegas, Nevada.
What’s with the Negativity?
This looks like another case of a padded record moving a fighter up a near-meaningless rankings to justify giving him a shot at the WBO world welterweight belt. A well-respected judge and referee Bruce McTaverish expects the challenger to be put away in three or four rounds. Horn obviously disagrees. After leaving behind a career as a school teacher in his native country, Horn would go on to become an Olympian.
Then again, “The Hornet” is taking on a man who is considered to be the greatest fight of the last ten years by some. Additionally, he is the only eight-division world champion in the entirety of boxing’s history.
Essentially the ending feels as scripted as something from the theatrical world of professional wrestling (that is not alleging fight-fixing) but rather acknowledging the potential for a blow-out. When fans can predict a blowout in other sports or a game becomes one of the course of a broadcast, the event tends to not do as well in the rating. Basically, to call Horn the true best welterweight fight that the planet has to offer at this time is a stretch.
Other big names in the sport are either already booked, eyeing other opponents, or are just coming off of fights. Pacquiao was already going to draw (in this case television ratings rather than pay-per-view buys,) but not only is he the sole reason the fight is going to do well at all, having a lack of testing challengers makes Pacquiao look bad (even if that is not entirely his fault.)
However, Horn is expecting to only get put away if he walks into one of Pacquio’s big punches and truly feels that he will shock the world with an upset to end “The Battle of Brisbane.” Many are predicting a KO/TKO finish in favor of the more established and internationally known veteran and champion, but it should be noted that he has only had one finish in his last 12 bouts.
Although he did score a knockdown against Vargas, he pretty much coasted to the scorecard-based victory. The win against Vargas also served as a rebound fight for Pacquiao after he fell to Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. in their absolute dud of a super-fight as he would take back his welterweight championship.
A finish is a possibility because Horn is widely regarded as a lesser fighter, but it seems more probable that he will use his movement ability to wear down horn over time and when they come with in range of each other, Pacquiao should definitely overpower Horn in similar fashion to what he managed to do against Vargas.
Prediction: Manny Pacquaio def. Jeff Horn by way of a Unanimous Decision
The bout will be broadcast on ESPN on Saturday, July 1 (Sunday, July 2 in Brisbane) as part of an agreement with Top Rank Boxing. It will be the first fight of Pacquiao’s career not to be on pay-per-view television.
“Manny Pacquiao has been one of the biggest global sports stars of his era, setting attendance and pay-per-view records for over the past decade, Top Rank President Todd duBoef said to ESPN earlier this week.
Now, as he defends his world title in front of yet another anticipated record crowd, he will be doing it to his biggest U.S. television audience on the world's biggest and most prestigious sports network, ESPN. To have ESPN, which has treated its viewers to NFL, [the] College Football Playoff and NBA playoff games, add Manny's title fight to its roster is the biggest compliment one can give to Manny's star power and a great gift to sports fans.”
ESPN coverage is set to begin on June 30, but the fight itself will be broadcast by “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” beginning at 9 p.m. eastern time on the date mentioned above. The clash will go down at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.