Who is Jeff Horn and can he become the Legend Killer?
What way to kickoff 4th of July weekend then with a fight. I’ve always felt that boxing was needed on 4th of July weekend and finally we get a fight. Some will call it a mismatch, a showcase fight but, who the hell cares when it’s a all-time great fighting live on ESPN. Manny Pacquaio has done it all in the sport of boxing. His legacy is cememted with championships, gates and pay-per view buys. He now goes to Brisbane, Austrailia to fight in front of his biggest crowd ever, over 50,000 at the SunCorp Stadium. There hasn’t been a fight this big in Austrailia since, Azumah Nelson versus Jeff Fenech in 1992 when they fought in front of 37,000 people.
The opponent standing in his way, Jeff Horn. Casuals and even some boxing fans ask, who is Jeff Horn? Horn is a undefeated fighter from Austrailia who represented Austrailia in the 2012 Olympics. Many fans are ask, why is Jeff Horn getting this fight against the legendary Manny Pacquaio? Easy, Horn is the number one ranked welterweight according to the WBO rankings. Could Pacquiao find a better fight out there? Yes, but I have no problem with him getting this mandatory out of the way. At the same time, where talking about someone who’s fought Mayweather, Cotto, Mosley, Barrera, Marquez (4 times), Morales, Bradley, Hatton, De La Hoya throughout his career. Are we really going to complain about Pacquiao at the tailend of his career fighting Jeff Horn for free on national television.
When we look at Horn’s resume, two names stick out, Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka. Horn made easy work of the 41 year old Randall, who at one time was one of the most feared punchers in the sport. Funeka a former lightweight contender, gave Horn a tough fight. In the third round, Horn was dropped a bizarre simataneuolsy combo of a right hook to the body and a headbutt. He got off the canvas, continued and dropped Funeka with a right hand to end the fight in sixth round. Interesting note, Horn is also in a short list of fighter with a college degree and is a high school teacher. Clearly he’s intelligent outside the ring but, does he have the intelligence inside the ring to pull off one of the biggest upset in all of boxing?
Like most of his career, Pacquaio is in a fight where he’s the smaller. Pacquaio is the shorter man as he’s giving up 3 inches to Horn who’s 5’9. There’s not much a difference in reach where Horn has one inch reach over Pacquaio. Horn’s biggest advantage and which can become a factor in this fight, will be his youth. Horn is 28 years old and in his prime where, the 38 year old Pacquiao’s best days clearly are behind him. Horn is a fighter who comes forward, gives alot of angles and like to step in and out of punching range. Not to mention, Horn is good puncher and has been one going back to his amateur days. What happens if he can land his signature right hand on Pacquiao’s chin? Horn has been careful matched by his promoters but, being that this is the biggest fight of his life, we expect to see the very best of him in front of his home crowd.
One person who’s in a win-win situation in this fight is, Pacquaio’s promoter Bob Arum as well. If Horn wins, Arum has promotions right on him and now has a new star in the making from Austrailia. If Pacquiao wins, the image and legacy continue’s to grow while, Arum continues feast off his cash cow. Pacquiao actaully didn’t look bad in his last fight against Jesse Vargas. You can evidently see the decline in Pacquaio but, he’s still dangerous as hell with that jab, jab, straight left since his featherweight days. The only way I see Pacquaio losing this is fight if, he just totally fell off overnight and Horn lands a Marquez type right hand. Other than that, Horn is just too slow, too inexperienced, and simply not skilled enough to beat Pacquaio, even if Pacquiao is 38 years old. Pacquiao should have enough in his tank to put Horn away in eight rounds or less. I’m exicted that not just fans but casuals will get to see this fight for free on ESPN. With no competition on the radar, I expect Nielsen ratings at least 4 million to turn into this event.