Jeff Horn stunned Manny Pacquiao in a bloody Brisbane battle early Sunday to claim a controversial unanimous 12-round decision and become the new WBO world welterweight champion.In front of a 50,000-packed Lang Park on Sunday, Horn, 29, was awarded the win over the legendary Filipino by scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113, much to the surprise of the boxing world.
The former school teacher who improves his record to 17-0-1 after his most famous victory, said ringside he never lost faith.
“I’ve just believed since I was very young that I could do this,” Horn said in an interview, before welcoming the prospect of a rematch with Pacquiao.
Pacquiao now (59-7-2) was initially dazed by the raw aggression of the taller and heavier Australian, but looked to have weathered the storm as the fight wore on and Horn lost steam.
With blood pouring from two sides on his forehead after accidental collisions late on, the Filipino eight-division champion launched a fierce assault on Horn in a bid to end the bout in the ninth round.
The exhausted Australian underdog was bruised and battered but impressively remained unbowed as he battled gamely through the final three rounds, making his unanimous decision victory an even bigger surprise.
“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.”
The defeat, in his first fight of 2017, comes as a major blow to Pacquiao who was banking on an impressive victory to boost talk of a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
He assured the crowd that he would “absolutely” return down under for the contracted rematch against Horn, while the ecstatic Aussie boldly called out pound-for-pound king Mayweather, saying: “This is no joke”.
Horn’s fairytale story has been met with mixed reactions.