Australia had their day in the boxing sunshine as their overnight sensation Punching PE teacher little known Jeff Horn did the seemingly impossible. He ripped the WBO Welterweight title away from legendary eight-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao in front of 60,000 fans in beautiful sunshine in the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Horn came into the ring boasting a record of 16 wins against 1 draw on his record. His biggest name win being a retirement over 43-year-old veteran former 2 weight World champion Randall Bailey who’s best fighting days were long behind him. In truth, this was 43-year-old Pacquiao World tour for the Philipines legend, but in reality it looked like Horn was being handpicked as the fall guy to get Manny his first knockout win since smashing Miguel Cotto to defeat in November 2009. Oh how wrong they were! Horn ripped up the script in fabulous fashion as he started very aggressively taking the fight to Pacquiao pushing him back against the ropes and pummelling him with shots to the body. Pacquiao looked up shaking his head and grinned. Horn had laid down the battle plan and he stuck to it with total conviction round after round using good boxing ability but most of all an almost unshakeable belief.
Through the first 6 rounds he attacked and got his shots off well especially the long right hand which found the target time and again then used good footwork constantly moving not allowing Pacquiao the distance or the time to land with anything meaningful. Pacquiao’s luck was running out as accidental head clashes resulted in one then a second nasty gash to the head. Champions find a way as he had done so many times before in an amazing career spreading over 22 years with 67 bouts, winning an incredible 59 against the band biggest names in boxing. In the eighth round he started to find his timing and it was Horn who now started to struggle. The 9th started with Pacquiao now in vengeful mood catching a tiring Horn with big left hands and long hard punches to the body, Horn now badly cut to the right eye, hung on for dear life as the bell sounded and he slumped to his stool, referee Mark Nelson then played his part in the fight that was playing out like a Hollywood script as he leaned into Horns corner and said he would stop the fight after another bad round! Absolute gold dust, true drama indeed as Horn lifted himself up and ploughed into Pacquiao with a renewed strength, he was back on his toes once more taking the fight to his opponent and winning 2 of the final 3 rounds on my card in what was an epic show of desire and courage to the final bell.
In the moments that followed as both boxers celebrated victory time stood still taking in what I just witnessed Manny Pacquiao had just been beaten in clear-cut fashion by a clean cut polite teacher from Brisbane, Australia. I pondered as thankfully the judges saw it exactly the same…. The New…..WBO champion of the World Jeff Horn. If you haven’t heard the name before you have now, and congratulations on a fantastic win and for once more confirming to every kid that dare to dream, work hard, live clean and follow that dream with commitment and passion because Jeff Horn just proved with determination and courage you can conquer the World…..