This will go down in the books. A virtual unknown muscled his way past the finesse of a legend and came out bloodied but on top. This is Rocky if Rocky won the first fight. Incredible. Absolutely incredible (no one can believe this happened). Here’s how it went down.
Despite ESPN’s neophyte coverage of boxing, we had a damn interesting match as the Battle of Brisbane. Manny Pacquiao was 38 years old, taking on an up and coming former high school teacher in Jeff Horn. Australia was fully behind Horn, who Stephen A Smith was constantly bashing through the night, calling him a no-name who’s beaten nobody. It seemed like Horn watched the coverage because he came out blazing, blasting Pac to the body and knocking out his mouthpiece in the first round.
As the next two rounds continued, Horn would continue to throw heavy, looping shots that Pacquiao was able to avoid easily. With each passing minute, you saw the difference in experience between the two men. Pac used quick, sharp angles and was counterpunching at will. Horn’s aggressiveness was becoming more a problem for Horn than Pac.
Through five rounds, Horn was still moving well, showing that he was nine years Pac’s junior, but Manny was savvy landing more and more. Even when the bout would devolve into a brawl, it was Pac constantly coming out on top. Horn simply couldn’t land anything. An accidental headbutt would bust open Manny, but the plasma would be far away from his eyes. A minute later, Horn would land the best shot of the fight with a straight right that would stumble Pacquiao.
In round 7, another head clash cuts open the other side of Pac’s head, but he kept moving like it was round 2. The cut seemed to light a fire under Pac, but Horn would step up the intensity to match the legend’s. This was a fight, people.
In round 9, Pacquiao finally landed some massive left hands that would send Horn reeling for most of the round. Pac would catch him a few more times as the blood poured from Horn’s face. Between the 9th and 10th, the ref came into Horn’s corner and said: “you gotta show me something or I’m stopping the fight.” The crowd was turning into white noise as red covered both men.
Horn definitely showed something in the tenth and Pac would slow down. Horn was earning respect with every second in the ring. As the seconds wound down, both men would unload, then the scorecards were read:
Horn would win 117-111. Rocky was real.