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Say Goodbye To Mayweather-Pacquiao 2


Sound the trumpets! Jeff Horn upset Manny Pacquiao to become the new WBO welterweight champion of the world!

Sound them again! For any notion of Mayweather-Pacquiao 2 is essentially dead forever!

Now, sound them again, albeit with less celebratory fanfare, for another bogus decision handed out by boxing judges. No, it wasn’t a robbery. Horn was aggressive the entire fight and made Pacquiao appear extra small at times. But for most people watching the fight on television, it was a close-but-clear win for Pacquiao on Saturday night in Brisbane.

Regardless, the outing for Pacquiao should sweep away any notion of having to endure Mayweather-Pacquiao 2. While the crafty, hard-fighting Horn should be given credit for gutting out a close fight in front of his homeland crowd, there was nothing in his performance to suggest he’s anything but a contender on the rise. He doesn’t appear to be anything close to elite, and frankly probably never will be.

Pacquiao used to annihilate fighters like this. Horn threw looping punches, didn’t protect his face and looked indeed like a real life version of Rocky Balboa. Oh, if only Rocky had been savvy enough to negotiate for judges Waleska Roldan, Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan.

Despite Pacquiao landing more punches in 11 out of 12 rounds, landing more power shots and total punches overall, and even though Pacquiao landed the cleaner, harder punches that turned Horn’s face into mashed potatoes over the course of the 12-round brawl, those three judges at ringside all tabbed Horn the winner at the end of the night.

If Roldan scored that fight 117-111 for Horn, what might the score had been had Pacquiao actually performed like a losing fighter? Do boxing judges receive any kind of training at all?

Poor boxing decisions make for poor shows. Think about it like this. How many mainstream sports fans turned on the tube and saw Pacquiao fighting some guy from Australia? How do you think they felt when three judges at ringside told them that the fight they had just watched on ESPN didn’t actually happen the way they saw it?

How many will come back?

And how many more times should boxing fans have to endure something like this? If it can happen to Pacquiao, it can happen to anybody. And the fact that Pacquiao has endured this twice over recent years—against Horn on Saturday night and in his first fight against Timothy Bradley in 2012—suggests it’s incompetence rather than intentional chicanery.

Still, maybe we should be thankful for this one in a weird way. Pacquiao had increasingly lobbied for another shot at Mayweather, who faces MMA star Conor McGregor in a boxing match on August 26. While Pacquiao’s personal case for the fight is legitimate—he suffered an injury heading into the last fight—the overarching public opinion is that once was enough.

If there were ever a version of Pacquiao who could have defeated Mayweather, the pound-for-pound best fighter of a generation, it was the one from 2008 to 2010. That guy is gone.

This version? He could barely get enough offense going against Horn, a rugged but utterly overmatched competitor by elite boxing standards, and would likely be hopelessly outclassed versus Mayweather, a defensive savant, in a second go-round.

But here’s what I was thinking as I reflected on the long odds for the fight and watched Horn (-400) give Pacquiao (+600) just about all he could handle. There is another long shot fighter, McGregor (-400) who believes he, too, can give a longtime elite professional boxer a run for his money. Could Mayweather (+600) find himself in a similar situation come August?

For there is but one undefeated champion in all of boxing history, and his name is Father Time. Pacquiao, 38, is reeling on the ropes and will be toppled very soon forever, if he hasn’t been already. Discretion is the better part of valor, wisdom says, and Pacman might be better off retiring from the sport rather than exercising his rematch clause against Horn.

But Mayweather, 40, has already signed the dotted line to face McGregor. The odds for the fight are virtually the same as is the age differential between the two fighters. As it was with Horn, 29, two-division UFC champion McGregor, 28, is still heading toward the peak of his professional fighting career.

In fighting Horn, Pacquiao bit off just about all he could chew. Maybe Mayweather has done that, too. Only time will tell, and we all know which fighter going into things has time on his side.



About Kelsey McCarson

Kelsey McCarson covers boxing for NY Fights, The Sweet Science and Bleacher Report.

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