Manny Pacquiao appeared in control of Saturday’s title bout against Jeff Horn, so when the Australian fighter ended up winning in a unanimous decision, it led to controversy and questions across the boxing world of whether the fix might have been in for Horn.
As the fight reached its conclusion, nearly all experts seemed to be in agreement that Pacquiao had landed more blows and scored more clean hits against the Australian contender and did more than enough to hold onto his WBO welterweight championship. Teddy Atlas, who was at ringside, scored the fight 116-112 for Pacquiao. Others had it a bit closer, but nearly all had Pacquiao as the winner.
But the ringside judges saw it differently, giving Horn the win in a unanimous decision.
The decision sent shockwaves through the boxing world and led to some questions about whether the Pacquiao vs. Horn fight might have been fixed. Atlas said exactly that during an appearance on SportsCenter after the fight.
“It’s a corrupt sport,” he said (via CBS Sports). “I’ve been in the sport 45 years. I’m sorry…. It’s a little blunt… but we have a corrupt sport… What else could it be? Corruption.”
Jeff Horn finished as a +450 underdog vs Manny Pacquiao.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 2, 2017
Tonight, he shocked the world. pic.twitter.com/3YdSxpHSYQ
Atlas — and many other boxing experts — were particularly incensed that one of the three judges scored the fight 117-111 for Horn.
In a sport increasingly turning to analytics and a dry point-based system, the decision looked even more egregious. By the numbers alone, Pacquiao appeared almost certain to be the winner. He landed nearly twice as many punches as Horn, more power punches, and his percentage of punches landed was more than twice that of Horn.
The fact that the fight took place in Brisbane, Australia — the home country for Jeff Horn — only added to the speculation that the fight may have been fixed in his favor.
While the questions over whether Manny Pacquiao had the win unfairly taken away, the future is now even more uncertain for the Filipino fighter. There was a rematch clause in the contract for Saturday’s fight, Forbes noted, and Pacquiao has already said that he would return to Australia to fight Jeff Horn again. And while Pacquiao clearly isn’t planning on retiring anytime soon, his performance has seen a notable decline as age and injuries take their toll on him.
So even though the boxing world is up in arms about the controversial decision, Manny Pacquiao may have little time to reflect on his loss before looking forward to the rematch.
[Featured Image by Chris Hyde/Getty Images]