The Battle of Brisbane lived up to the hype. In what has become an instant classic, and an early fight-of-the-year candidate, Jeff Horn of Australia defeated Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines in their WBO Welterweight title fight at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
In what should have been Horn's homecourt, the crowd seemed to be split evenly. At some point of the fight, it even seemed that the fighting senator from the Philippines had more fans in the 50,000-strong crowd.
The first round was eventful, with Manny Pacquaio seemingly toying with Jeff Horn. Horn landed a number of body shots as he pinned Pacquiao into the ropes. The challenger gave notice that he isn't a pushover. Horn was all over Pacman and looked threatening. Pacquaio looked overpowered in the first, as the round clearly belonged to the challenger.
Pacquiao finally looked serious at the start of the second round. The action went back-and-forth and the challenger Horn doesn't look intimidated, landing a couple of sneaky lefts. Pacquaio finally got a solid hit, but the Australian just shook it off. Horn dominated the round, but Manny finished stronger.
Jeff Horn started on fire in the third round, landing a number of body shots. Manny countered, looking a bit like the Manny of old, but he still looked like he had lost a step or two. Both fighters traded power shots but it was clear that Horn wanted to use his size advantage. Pacquiao started to tag Horn, but the Aussie was game. If people around the world don't know who Jeff Horn is, they certainly know about him now. It was another close round, and was more of the same in the fourth round.
Pacquiao hit the canvas, but the ref called it a slip. Horn scored a big right hand that apparently shook the champ. Pacquiao really looked out of sorts at that point of the fight. Horn continued to dominate but was cut just above his right eye. It was a clear round for Horn.
The fifth round started with Pacquaio baiting Horn. Horn didn't bite and just boxed and executed his game plan. Pacquaio looked winded, throwing wide haymakers, which is uncharacteristically very un-Manny like. Horn continued to dominate, rocking Pacquaio a number of times. But before the bell, Pacquaio caught Horn with a solid shot.
Horn blitzed Pacquiao to start the sixth round and Pacquaio was starting to look annoyed. The fight was temporarily stopped when Pacquiao got bloodied by an accidental headbutt. Horn was all over Pacquiao when the bout resumed, and at that point, it was looking like Pacquiao's age was catching up with him as Horn staggered Pacquiao with a straight to the chin.
Pacquiao looked more serious in the seventh round, surprising Horn with a straight right. Pacquiao appeared to control the early minutes of the round, but Horn calmly got back to his game plan. Both fighters landed power shots, with Horn seemingly getting the better of the exchanges. Another accidental headbutt stopped the fight again temporarily, with Pacquiao getting cut again. Horn cornered Pacquaio, landing good shots, but Pacquiao came back with a few of his own.
In the eighth round, Pacquaio started to tag Horn. Horn dropped to the mat but the referee ruled it a slip. Pacquiao seemed to be in control of this round with his movement and timely sniping. Horn was starting to look tired. The crowd was chanting "Manny! Manny!"
Jeff Horn looked to re-establish his presence at the start of the ninth round, tagging Pacquiao early. Unfazed, Pacquiao started attacking, building speed. Horn looked worn-out and Manny had momentum. The Aussie looked to be in trouble. Horn started to run, but like a bird of prey, Manny increased the pressure. Smelling blood, Pacquiao went for the kill, but Horn survived the round. It didn't look good for the young Aussie at that point, and Pacquiao's experience seemed to be carrying the champ.
In between rounds, Bob Nelson, the referee, went to Horn's corner to ask if the Aussie could continue. A fair question at that point of the match.
Pacquiao looked quicker in the 10th round. Horn threw a number of shots but clearly, the power had left him. Pacquiao started stalking the Aussie, looking like he was just waiting for the perfect punch to end the fight. It seemed that Horn was the one out of sorts. Horn got one in shot and Manny just shook it off.
The championship rounds began with Pacquiao behind on the scorecard and he seemed to know it. Pacquiao started in control, methodically stalking Horn. Horn, looking like he had recovered, tried overpowering Pacquiao. Pacquiao caught Horn with a good shot before the bell. This round was reportedly too close to score.
The 12th round started with Horn being aggressive. It looked like he didn't want the fight to go to the scorecards. Horn caught Pacquiao with a right hand, and Manny came back with a shot to the body. It turned into a street fight and Pacquiao had the advantage with this style. This was a fight. If only every boxer fought like Pacquiao and Horn.
At the end of the 12-round fight, Jeff Horn emerged as the new WBO Welterweight champion of the world with a unanimous decision. And again, if people don't know Jeff Horn, they should by now.
Full Result of Battle of Brisbane
The first fight of the day seemed like an omen of sorts depending on who you were rooting for. Australian Brent Dames defeated Filipino Jones Dapidran via decision. The Australian reports that a number of boxing analysts had the Filipino, a first cousin of Pacquiao, ahead on their scorecards, but the judges gave the nod for the Aussie anyway.
The second fight of the day featured Aussie prospect Brock Jarvis going up against Indonesian Caem Rasmanudin. No controversy in this one since Jarvis easily routed Rasmanudin by dropping the Indonesian three times in the first round.
The WBO and IBF international titles were at stake in the third bout of the day. Damien Hooper, an ex-Australian Olympian, squared off with unbeaten Russian Umar Salamov. Hooper and Salamov mixed it up with Salamov looking the better of the two. However, after 10 rounds of boxing, Damien Hooper emerged victorious, scoring a unanimous decision, 96-94 on all three ringside judges' cards, and in the process taking home both the WBO and IBF International Titles.
CBS Sports reports that the American boxer Shane Mosley, Jr., son of boxing great "Sugar" Shane Mosley, suffered the first defeat of his career, bowing to Canberra boxer David Toussaint. The southpaw Toussaint matched Mosley, speed for speed, rocking Mosley a number of times in the first two rounds. Mosley made a case for himself in rounds three and four, but appeared to be fading. By the seventh round, the American looked completely winded which was understandable at this point of his career. Mosley hasn't gone beyond the sixth round and Toussaint was finishing strong. After eight rounds of back-and-forth boxing action, Toussaint defeated Mosley via split decision, 77-76, 77-76, 75-77.
Ireland's Michael Conlan squared off against Queenslander Jarrett Owen in the next fight. Conlan, who is helping Conor McGregor prepare for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, made short work of Owen, ending the fight in the third round.
The last fight before the main event was a title bout between Teiru Kinoshita of Japan and Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines. With the IBF junior bantamweight title on the line, Ancajas dropped the Japanese boxer with a vicious right to the body, ending the fight and giving the Philippines another world champion.
[Featured Image by Chris Hyde/Getty Images]