Virtually unknown Australian Jeff Horn wrested the WBO world welterweight title from Manny Pacquiao after claiming a highly-controversial 12-round unanimous decision win in front of more than 50,000 fans at Lang Park in Brisbane, Australia.
Two judges scored the fight 115-113, while one rated it 117-111 all in favour for the hometown boxer, who improved his record to 17 wins and one draw without a loss.
“I’m so happy, I can’t explain my feelings,” said the 29-year-old Horn, who won his first ever world title. “I’ve just believed since I was very young that I could do this.”
Pacquiao, who lost for the first time since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, thought he won the fight after landing more punches but claimed he will respect the judges’ decision.
“Very tough. I didn’t expect that tough,” said Pacquiao. “It’s okay, it’s part of the game. That’s the decision of the judges, I respect that.”
Noted boxing analyst Teddy Atlas claimed the judges gave Horn “the win for trying” and accused them of not using “the real rules of judging boxing matches.”
Atlas claimed he scored the bout 116-111 for Pacquiao, adding that the referee was about to stop the match after the ninth round when the Filipino almost dominated the Australian into submission.
“My job is to protect you,” said the referee to Horn in his corner before the 10th round. “Show me something in this round, or I’m going to stop the fight.”
Stats from Compubox show that the 38-year-old Pacquiao landed 182 of his 573 punches for a hit rate of 32%, while only 92 of Horn’s 625 punches landed for a rate of 15%.