“It is also a warning. It is a warning that, if nobody reads the writing on the wall, man will be reduced to the state of the beast, whom he is shaming by his manners.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
FAIRFAX, Virginia – I knew Jeff Horn was about to shock the world as early in the seventh round, but I was able to muster enough courage to first declare in my Facebook page that the unbeaten Aussie would upset WBO welterweight king Manny Pacquiao when the fight entered the 10th stanza of the 12-round championship tussle in Brisbane on July 2.
The scores: 117-111, 115-113, 115-113 didn’t surprise me. I scored it 116-114.
Pacquiao got distracted by pressures to score a knockout.
He needed a knockout to bring back his invincibility and convince fight fans he wasn’t yet over the hill.
But boxing isn’t always about knockout.
It can be won also on points.
Horn, egged by a hometown crowd, was determined to snatch the WBO tiara off from his head, thus he engaged the 38-year-old superstar in a toe-to-toe brawl without fear and hesitation.
In the sixth round, Horn, 29, showed that he could swallow Pacquiao’s best punches and didn’t retreat.
The white fighter from Brisbane Queensland stuck to the game plan: pressure the Pacman from pillar to post and avoid fighting him from the distance.
Taller by three inches at 5 feet and nine inches, Horn, an orthodox, complicated matters for unorthodox Pacquiao when he swapped bombs side by side instead of stepping backward while Pacquiao was digging on Horn’s body.
Refusing to be intimidated, Horn was ahead entering the eight round.
The senator from Mindanao has not sent to dreamland the last nine customers he beat in eight years.
The loss to Horn (17-0-11 KOs) was also his fourth in the last eight years.
Pacquiao’s last TKO win was on Nov. 14, 2009 when he stopped Miguel Cotto in the last round for the WBO 147-lb bauble in Las Vegas.
After a scintillating Cotto TKO win, Pacquiao rolled past Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, and Juan Manuel Marquez (third meeting) all on points.
Then came back to back setbacks to Timothy Bradley Jr. On June 9, 2012 and a shock five-round KO loss to Marquez (fourth meeting) on December 8, 2012.
Then came three straight wins against Brandon Rios, Bradley (rematch), and Chris Algieri before Pacquiao succumbed to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2, 2015.
He should have retired after the Mayweather debacle after bankrolling $100 million.
Pacquiao’s third meeting and second victory over Bradley and another win against Jessie Vargas all in 2016 were meant to deodorize his marketability after a not-so-impressive performance against Mayweather.
Pacquiao’s No. 1 marketing man, Bob Arum, made sure Pacquiao wasn’t tainted when he and Mayweather failed to satisfy the paying fans who protested the “lackluster” duel.
The twin wins over Bradley and Vargas, however, didn’t improve his stock.
Pacquiao did not only stagnate, he declined as manifested by his diminishing work rates en route to scoring his last two wins before the Horn shocker.
He could not paddle his canoe as senator and ribcracker in two rivers.
At 38, his speed and power could no longer send fears in the hearts of younger and hungrier welterweights today.
The Horn defeat was the handwriting on the wall for Pacquiao that it’s time to finally hang up his gloves even if Bob Arum and the Top Rank will run berserk.