Another Post-Mortem on Horn vs. Pacquiao

By Gordon Marino on July 4, 2017
Another Post-Mortem on Horn vs. Pacquiao
Manny has a difficult time with tall welters who can bang. (Chris Hyde/ Getty Images)

Years ago, Freddie Roach once told me that his man was a small guy and should not be fighting above 140. Freddie was right…

Yesterday, I watched the Pacquiao vs. Horn tussle again; this time on mute and without the over-narration. Swayed by punch stats and a bellowing Teddy Atlas, I originally thought Pacquiao earned a clear victory. Not so on rewind.

Horn was as wild as Oscar Bonavena. The former teacher missed with a lot of shots but he controlled the action, took the risks. When Pacquiao retreated to the ropes, which was all too often, he squared up and absorbed body shots and an occasional hard uppercut up the middle. Looking at the punch stats, I have to wonder whether or Horn’s body work on the strands registered.

You would think that inside the bigger and stronger fighter would control the action. When on top of one another, Horn usually resorted to a headlock, but Pacquiao, the shorter man by three inches, was lower than Horn and had the leverage advantage in close. But a listless Pacquiao let Horn grab him and MP was too tired or over-powered on the inside the rip his signature hooks and uppercuts.

I was not ringside; nevertheless, on the screen Pacquiao’s jab seemed like feather touches. He seemed reluctant to get full extension on his punches. In the ninth, he finally walked Horn into his concussive left, but there was nothing else behind, no right hook, just one wide swipe after another. Known for his footwork, he could not even cut the ring off on the wobbled Aussie. When Horn was hurt and Manny chased him into the corner the Pacman was content to cuddle and let his man escape from what seemed a boxing boxed canyon.

Pacquiao specializes in multiple combinations, as in jab to the body, left to the head, right hook to the body, slide to the side and start another riff, but against Horn he couldn’t deliver more than one or two packages of punishment at a time.

Years ago, Freddie Roach once told me that his man was a small guy and should not be fighting above 140. Freddie was right. Manny has an understandably difficult time with welters who are tall, strong, and can bang. 

Horn was to Pacquiao what Maidana was to Mayweather in their first fight. The only way to neutralize superior skill and speed is punch and maul and to Horn’s credit, that is precisely what he did. Yes, the ref allowed Horn did get away with some south of the border tactics but so it goes.

I have nothing but respect and yes affection for Pacquiao, but he has always had a streak of grandiosity, for example doing concerts after 12 round title bouts, etc. But it is past time for Manny to get real. The idea that you can be a full-time senator and an elite in the toughest weight class in boxing seems hubristic to me, especially at shopworn 38.

I hope the rematch happens soon. Pacquiao is in the pantheon but now he has something to prove. Afterwards, I hope Manny concentrates is able to duck out of the klieg lights and concentrate his attention solely on frays in the political arena.

A professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Gordon Marino writes on boxing for the Wall Street Journal. He is on the board and works with boxers at the Circle of Discipline in Minneapolis, as well as at the Basement Gym in Northfield, MN. His The Quotable Kierkegaard was recently published by Princeton University Press. You can follow him on Twitter at @GordonMarino.

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  1. Gordon Marino 01:05pm, 07/09/2017

    I also think that the ref really let Horn get away with head ramming and WWE techniques. Mark has reffed some of my fighter’s bouts and always done a great job, but he was too lenient with Horn.

  2. Galvar 12:25pm, 07/07/2017

    It’s a 10-8 round when the ref goes to you and says “hey, you just got your ass beat and I was going to stop the fight.”  @Gordon the evidence of clean punches can be seen on horn’s face.  Your face doesn’t look like that by getting hit by air.  Unless of course Manny is some kind of Shaolin master and was hitting him with chi.

  3. Gordon Marino 10:08am, 07/07/2017

    I guess I am with the judges and not the ref in thinking that the drubbing he took in that round was not in the 10-8 realm. He sure recuperated quickly. He was moving, slipping, octupusing MP. I could have lived with a draw or even MP but a slight margin.

  4. tuxtucis 12:22am, 07/07/2017

    @Gordon Marino: Why not ? If you dont score 10-8 the 9th, you’ve to score at least 5 rounds even.

  5. Gordon Marino 02:16pm, 07/06/2017

    I didn’t see the MP, whom I was pulling for landing many “clean” punches. His jabs had nothing on them. And I can’t see scoring 9—as 10-8.

  6. tuxtucis 10:05am, 07/06/2017

    @Jeff Weston: Boxing is not fitness, boxing is the sport of landing clean punches and I doubt Horn scored more clean punches than Pacquiao in a single round.

  7. Jeff Weston 04:50am, 07/06/2017

    A sane and sober article. “Content to cuddle” indeed. I could watch a workhorse like Horn all day long. Credit to him and his trainers. Keep up the good work, Gordon.

  8. tuxtucis 12:05am, 07/06/2017

    I’ve Pacquiao winner 116-111, 8-4 in rounds with the 9th 10-8 for the Filipino. All four rounds i gave Horn were close (half point, with an half point system). An evident robbery. I hope the judge who scored the fight 117-111 for the Aussie will never score a single match again.

  9. Carlos Torres 09:30pm, 07/05/2017

    Horn is a difficult fighter to score because he is very aggressive and ackward as well. Having taken a second look at the fight the cleaner punches were definitely landed by Pacquiao. I scored the fight 115-113 for Pacquiao.

  10. tuxtucis 10:38pm, 07/04/2017

    “what Maidana was to Mayweather in their first fight” ?
    I watched the fight 3 times and I had at least 4 points for Mayweather…

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