Manny Pacquiao lost both his seventh career fight and his WBO Welterweight title Saturday night, as little-known Jeff Horn defeated Pacquiao in a controversial, 12-round bout. Pacquiao entered the match as a -650 favorite against Horn. Much was made of Horn’s seemingly thin boxing resume, as the former Olympian and schoolteacher came into the bout with a 17-0-1 record including 11 knockouts.
Horn landed early shots against Pacquiao during the first round, but the native of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia also had his mouthpiece dislodged by the 38-year-old Pacquiao during the opening round. Pacquiao appeared to dominate the second and third rounds, as the latter found him opening a bloody cut over Horn’s right eye.
Data backed up the perception of Pacquiao being the more accurate puncher. According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed nearly twice as many punches—32 percent of a total 573 punches thrown to Horn’s 15 percent on 625 punches.
The controversy regarding the judges' decision in favor of Horn appears to stem from later rounds, which found Horn barely standing as Pacquiao landed a flurry of power shots. Referee Mark Nelson approached Horn’s corner and threatened to stop the fight during the ninth round, but Horn and his team managed to convince Nelson to let the fight continue.
“I wanted to keep going on,” Horn said during a post-fight press conference. “I wasn’t really that hurt. I was a little bit buzzed in that round, but I recovered very quickly. He buzzed me a little bit. I felt a little off-balance in that round.”
Despite Pacquiao’s late dominance and superior accuracy, judges Waleska Roldan, Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan scored the fight 117-111, 115-113 and 117-111 in favor or Horn. The scores prompted talk of a “hometown decision,” given that the fight took place in Horn’s native Brisbane, Australia.
“That’s the decision of the judges. I respect that,” Pacquiao said after the fight. He added that he would “absolutely” take advantage of a rematch clause.
While Pacquiao took a loss during his first non-pay-per-view bout since 2005, he will still pocket $10 million for one night’s work. Manny Pacquiao remains boxing's only eight-division world champion.