Manny Shows Age in Disputed Loss

By Christian Giudice on July 2, 2017
Manny Shows Age in Disputed Loss
One would be hard-pressed to admit that he fought an effective fight. (Chris Hyde/Getty)

As egregious as the scores were, what was even more shocking was the deterioration of Pacquiao’s skills at age 38…

At some point in a boxer’s career, all of the things that once came easily begin to dissipate. The decline starts with the legs and the natural ring movement, and then is followed by the speed, accuracy and power. Ultimately, that once great fighter one remembers fondly has turned into a shell of himself. Last night, the great Manny Pacquiao was upset by unknown Australian Jeff Horn (17-0-1 11 KOs) by unanimous decision (117-111, 115-113 twice) to relinquish his WBO welterweight title in a fight that most ringsiders (including myself) believed he won.

As egregious as the scores were, what was even more shocking was the deterioration of Pacquiao’s skills at age 38. From the first couple rounds, Pacquiao (59-7-2 (38 KOs) allowed Horn, a former schoolteacher and Olympian, to dictate the pace of the fight. Reality suggests that Pacquiao no longer has a choice. If he fights Horn ten more times, the same pattern of an aggressive Horn moving forward, using his body to punish Pacquiao, and occasionally landing a clean punch, will continue. Although, most chalked up the accelerated pace that Horn established in the first round to nothing more than adrenaline, whenever slowed down, and Pacquiao, a fighter who relishes the lead role rather than the counterpuncher, had to adapt. In that role, with the exception of a few rounds, one would be hard-pressed to admit that Pacquiao fought an effective fight.

First, Horn was fast, furious, and used herky-jerky head movement to confuse Pacquiao. It was not alarming to see Horn rough up Pacquiao and land enough punches to win the first round, because the common perceptions were that A) The unknown Australian fighter couldn’t maintain this pace. B) It was just a matter of time before Pacquiao makes him pay for his mistakes. What Pacquiao’s corner miscalculated was Horn’s excellent conditioning and Pacquiao’s inefficiency. Inefficient in the sense that Pacquiao appeared aggressive, but punch stats prove that he was not himself.

Second, Pacquiao has never been an accurate puncher, but he has always put himself in position to land punches. On Saturday night, he was rarely in position to land power punches not only because of his age, but Horn was awkward to target (as he punched when he came inside) and difficult to hit cleanly. By the second round, Pacquiao’s level of discomfort was evident as frustration set in. One could see that anguish in his face, and revealed by his lack of movement—specifically, he wanted to get to places in the ring at a pace that was not realistic.

Boxing analysts Teddy Atlas and Timothy Bradley commented about Pacquiao’s ability to counterpunch, but did not clarify that Pacquiao has always taken the lead role. That approach was how people identified Pacquiao. By forcing Pacquiao to sit back and wait for openings, Horn took advantage of his own aggression and even—in what seemed like the most unlikeliest of scenarios—trapped Pacquiao against the ropes.

Lastly, even though Pacquiao, who now had to deal with blood streaming down his face from a headbutt, began to settle in and land his counter straight left and right hook in rounds 4-7, he never appeared in complete control until the ninth round. What a round it was, as critics have turned to it as the defining moment of the fight. I didn’t give Pacquiao a two-point round, but it is conceivable that as the vintage Pacquiao chased Horn around the ring and landed the first real combinations of the fight one could have scored it 10-8. Pacquiao fans were in their glory as the old Manny attacked with a huge left toward the end of the round that sent Horn reeling across the ring. However, the nostalgic moment only lasted 1:45 seconds as Pacquiao came out listless in the next round. 

In fact, that listless tenth round proved to be a seminal moment because Horn showed Pacquiao that he could take anything punishment he doled out. More significant than giving away the tenth round was the acceptance that Pacquiao could not capitalize after what may have been the last great round of his glorious career. But it was not over as Pacquiao came back to land a big left in the eleventh and fought a winning round in the twelfth. By using effective 1-2 counters and an occasional jab in that final round, in my mind, Pacquiao secured his victory. The judges saw a different fight.

Gracious in defeat, Pacquiao talked about how he respected the judges’ decision. Regarding his future, no fighter can fool himself. Deep down, Pacquiao understands the ramifications of this fight, and how he is slipping as a fighter, even if he won’t admit it. There are some opponents he can still beat, yet it is sad to watch him go down this path. Having given people so many great moments, Pacquiao will never be that same fighter again, and as he adapts, we are forced to accept him as he is as well. No one wants to see this deterioration, but just like Pacquiao accepted early on against Horn—we have no choice.

Christian Giudice
Author: A Fire Burns Within: The Miraculous Journey of Wilfredo Gomez
Author: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello
Author: Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran


Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. raxman 05:29pm, 07/04/2017

    Heres the thing about Pac and ko’s - the days of Pac being a knock out artist are long, long gone. A cynical man could say Pac stopped ko’ing guys around the time he started the random blood tests but I’m sure its more about his age and the size of his opponents. He couldn’t finish off Algieri despite dropping him over and over. From memory his last KO was against Cotto and that has to 8 years ago. Cotto was weight drained for that one - as was Oscar for his. So in real terms Pac left his KO power down at 140pounds (on the unconscious ricky hatton )
    and while on the subject of 10-8 rounds IMO you should have to put a fighter on the canvas to get the 10-8 - just dominating a round should never be enough - by that logic Floyd’s 147 career should be littered with 10-8 rounds as he had rounds where he was barely touched whilst landing dozens of counter shots - a different sort of dominance but still dominating a round. So no, you should have to get a knockdown to get the score advantage - if for no other reason than to reward the guy that stayed on his feet

  2. Koolz 02:39pm, 07/04/2017

    In martial arts you use what you know best.  Meaning that thought slows action and reaction is faster.

    So yes Horn had to have mastered the headlock move as he did it to many times.

    He is not thinking of doing it, he knows it so well it’s a reaction to his fight training.

  3. Galvar 12:22pm, 07/04/2017

    Manny needs to fight in a lower weight class.  If he is taking hits from bigger guys and nearly knocking their heads off, imagine what he can do back at 140… And he could probably make the weight.  The commentators said something about him eating a big bfast before the weigh in or something.

  4. Anonymous 11:02am, 07/04/2017

    Actually, he took a page out of Ward’s cookbook. Butts, elbows, over-the-top hanging on, and even added his own, to wit: headlocks that stalled the action at the right time.. If the ref lets you do it, then you do it until he tells you not to do it. It’s called roughhousing and/or dirty fighting. It morphs from roughhousing to dirty when the perpetrator gets point deducted.

    That said, I saw the fight for Pac 115-113, using the number of punches landed as key. Horn must have outweighed Pac by 15 pounds and used it to his advantage.

    What shocked me was that Pac did not seem to land a right hook all night long. Had he done so in the ninth, there would not have been a tenth.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:15am, 07/04/2017

    You don’t have to get to all three judges….all you need is one C J Ross or one Waleska Roldan! Add in a ref who “lets them fight” no matter what kind of dirty shit is being pulled inside the ring and the future looks bright ahead!

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:55am, 07/04/2017

    No negative commentary from Timmy Bradley on this whole thing…. he is too busy visualizing himself pounding the shit out of Horn in Suncorp Stadium…..hopefully in the very near future!

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:38am, 07/04/2017

    Kinda’ reminds of an MMA front choke hold!

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:26am, 07/04/2017

    @koolz-Happy Fourth! Serious question….do you think that horn worked on those funky ass headlocks in preparation for this fight with a smaller man? This illegal tactic was way too consistent and effective in preventing Manny from working inside which is where the smaller fighter with the shorter reach needs to be! I for one have never witnessed a fight where so many exchanges ended with the same fighter immobilized in a vise like headlock!

  9. Koolz 06:02am, 07/04/2017

    yes I was correct Pac is being thrown to the wolves.

    I am seeing reports that are saying The Pacman is an old man now.

    Horn is getting offers from Arum.  Arum is saying Pac underestimated Horn.

    Arum wants Horn to fight in the US.  It begins…

    Should the 9th round be considered a 10/8 round.  I had Pac beating the living snot out of Horn in this fight winning by three to four rounds. 

    But I see the Curse of the Prize Fighter in all it’s Glory. 

  10. Koolz 06:17pm, 07/03/2017

    Pac sounds like a victim of Prize Fighting.  It’s the promoters that create the fights and try to find their special fighter.  They are the ones that care about one thing, money.

    It’s Arum that is deciding on what Pacman does and who he fights.

    now how many times has Pac been under the controversial decisions of refs?

    it sounds like a scandal but when you are dealing with money everything is a scandal, the results only are about money.

    Arum wants Pac to rematch in Australia again.  Is Arum looking for the next big thing as he sees Pacman on the way out?

    After the success of the Horn fight he would be a moron to think Pac is done.

    There was a movie something Heavy Weight with the Mountain as the star that’s pretty depressing film on boxing but probably pretty close to the reality of the Prize Fighter too.

    The movie is called Requiem for a Heavyweight.

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:58am, 07/03/2017

    This was the early Seventies and the ref was Japanese as well…...a title fight but without an international/neutral team of officials….Nick Pope being the token in that regard.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:42am, 07/03/2017

    These judges are only human and since they are on what amounts to an all expenses paid vacation they have a sense of gratitude to the host country regardless of who’s actually paying the bills. They start identifying with the hopes and aspirations of the Aussie fans…..kinda’ like the Stockholm Syndrome. Which reminds of Irish Frankie Crawford’s first fight with Sho Saijo in Japan for the title. In that instance the ref who had a score card allowed Sho to rabbit punch all night long and then scored wide for Saijo. Nick Pope being the good guest scored for Saijo by a point. Most telling of all the other Japanese judge scored it a draw. Crawford won that fight and if it had been scored right it would have changed his life and just maybe his life would not have ended with a self inflicted shotgun blast years later.

  13. Koolz 12:53am, 07/03/2017

    didn’t know about the judges thanks!
    (something else might have been going on though)

    Yes he should have ended it in the nineth or at the very least come out
    in the tenth round and let it go again.

  14. raxman 11:37pm, 07/02/2017

    Christian Giudice - great take on the fight.
    Manny lost the fight because he didn’t go out and win it. And age looked to be the reason why. Even just 5 years ago he decimates Horn.
    Everyone knows when you fight a guy with 55thousand fans you need to shut those fans up quick smart. Its a sad fact that judges get swayed by the cheering of crowds - in this instance it was those punches of Horns that failed to land flush, or failed to land at all, yet were cheered like they did.
    Pac did enough to beat Horn, just not enough to beat the crowd, and although it shouldn’t be so, Pac also suffered from the ATG malaise that is failing to do enough to live up to his own lofty standards

  15. raxman 11:28pm, 07/02/2017

    Koolz - the judges weren’t Australian.

  16. mark 05:57pm, 07/02/2017

    Patrick d, what fight were you watching.You would think with your comments horn never landed a punch.I. think your wallets hurting more than mannys noggin.Head butts by both,.they are becoming more prevalent in boxing, up to referee to stop them.I am 59 years of age, what happens as you get older is your reflexes deteriorate.Hope you enjoy your day. Cheers Mark.

  17. Galvar 03:24pm, 07/02/2017

    Ummmm… Manny looked pretty good for an old guy fighting someone 10 years younger than him, 3 inches taller, and naturally heavier.  True he couldn’t knock him out but let’s be real, Manny’s power doesn’t hold up as a welter.  I think he does have a few more fights in him but he needs to go down to the lower weight classes.  Bottom line, Horn got beat up by the smaller guy but won anyway.

  18. Koolz 02:54pm, 07/02/2017

    wow after the fight Horn’s face is a mess.  I mean he looks like he got the Sh##t beat out of him.  Pac’s blood was from the top of his head but Horn looks like he took quite a beating, eye, nose, mouth, did he get his nose broken?

  19. Koolz 02:32pm, 07/02/2017

    Part 1 1-8
    Part 2 9-12
    sounds like Thai Commentators.

    Pac vs Horn

    The full fight is up now!  If you haven’t seen it watch it, it was very entertaining!

  20. Ted Sares 01:12pm, 07/02/2017

    For some inexplicable reason, it seems it?s relatively easy to cheat this ATG. That first round against JMM that was wrongly scored, the Bradley disgrace, and now this, Reminds of how Oscar, another ATG, was treated. Oscar complained. Many doesn’t. Maybe that’s why he gets treated this way. But when Oscar lost to Tito, I left boxing for a while. This one gives me that same feeling of disgust about the entire business. Casamayor vs. Santa Cruz and Foreman vs Briggs also put me at the brink. It’s almost like I am colluding in something that lacks a moral underbelly—something that is innately tenuous at best and foul at worst. I think it’s called a moral compass and mine just tiled to the wrong side again.

  21. Patrick D 12:07pm, 07/02/2017

    Not to take anything away from Horn for trying hard but with the amount of fouls he committed in the fight he should have been disqualified.
    Pacquiao was bothered by the fouls not his age.
    Biggest robbery in boxing history and it happened in front of 50,000 people.
    It should be the biggest event in the history of Australian boxing but now we’re leaving the impression that Ned Kelly still exist in Australia.

  22. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:02pm, 07/02/2017

    Gotta’ love Horn’s back story of being tormented by sukass bullies in his teen years but….it kinda’ pales in comparison to Manny’s early life of grinding Third World poverty and a dad that abandoned him only to return for a short visit whereupon he proceeded to barbecue Manny’s little dog before he took off again.

  23. Kid 09:01am, 07/02/2017

    This just in from Twitter:

    Terrible mugging and robbery last night in Brisbane. Judges are being vetted. SAD

  24. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:56am, 07/02/2017

    Speaking of half wits…the celebrities’ got there answers right off the teleprompters on Hollywood Squares. These are the same elitist fux that think they know what’s best for the rest of us!

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:47am, 07/02/2017

    The scoring in the Toussant/Mosely fight was curious as well. Toussant won six of the eight but wore himself out in the process prompting one half wit “judge” to give the fight to the guy with the famous boxing name….why not….good reason as any. The people commenting here today are the best…..they get in and then they get right out. The asshats that come on here and ramble and drone on and on and on paragraph after paragraph are boring as fuk!

  26. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:33am, 07/02/2017

    I concur with Doctor McCain’s and Doctor Koolz’s diagnoses..

  27. Anonymous 08:30am, 07/02/2017

    Decision = fake news

  28. Koolz 07:47am, 07/02/2017

    Manny could never win in Australia unless it was a knock out.  There was no way they were going to allow Head-Lock-Horn to get a loss.

    Horn’s team did every trick in the book, binding on the glove, the rough housing…

    Horn did really well I enjoyed the fight.  Very entertaining Fight.  Australia Enjoyed the Fight.

    Now everything Bias writer and you better understand that!

    Australia Commentators had Horn winning everything but one round.  All of Horn’s efforts were in Glorious moments that left the audience in Awe!

    Box Nation had Pacman up by just two rounds one round very close to a 10/8 but they praised both fighters.  They loved the fight.(yes I watched it twice)

    And I shall iterate again: Pacman could never win this fight as close as it was in Horn’s Country, Never!


  29. Lucas McCain 07:39am, 07/02/2017

    ATGs often discover, even when they have a good night, they have not only lost some of their reflexes, but also some of their political “pull” with the judges.  I was a neophyte in 1960 when watching Ray Robinson-Paul Pender fight 1 and Robinson-Gene Fullmer 3.  Two wins that became a loss and a draw.  A sign the end was in sight for the Greatest.

  30. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:28am, 07/02/2017

    This is a great report as usual! Horn had an easy twenty pound pull in weight, so with all his shortcomings he was able to bully Manny around in an awkward ass way, but more to the point the real shocker was that he could maintain frenzy mode for twelve rounds…. save for the ninth.Easy for us to discount the effects of bone jarring head butts and the energy sapping effects of swimming in your own blood for twelve long rounds. The judges especially Waleska Roldan scored crowd noise and blood. Manny won…..for some reason it’s easy to cheat this ATG kinda’ like they used to screw over Oscar another ATG.

Leave a comment