Sports Eye

Unpopular decision. Rematch?

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

WHEN the verdict was announced declaring Jeff Horn as the new champion, winning over our boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, of the World Boxing Organization’ (WBO) welterweight title, netizens all over the world, including world celebrities, were quick to cry “foul, that the verdict should have been the other way around.”

Indeed, we saw on TV last July 2 how our national sports treasure Pacman did his best to protect his tiara, but unfortunately his best was not good enough, that’s according to the three ring judges who unanimously scored 117-111, 115-113, 115-113, for Horn.

We saw too, how the New Yorker referee Mark Nelson was remiss in his job, failing to warn Horn about his dirty tactics like head butting, elbowing, hitting during the break. Many believed the Australian boxer should have been penalized through point deduction but the referee appeared to have tolerated the Brisbane-born Horn to please the partisan crowd. After the ninth round, referee Nelson even came to Horn’s corner to say “I’m here to protect you. If you don’t show me something, I’ll stop the fight.”

He should have not said that. That constituted coaching which was not his job.

Even the former heavyweight champion Briton Lennox Lewis who was very vocal person after the fight, hastily and unabashedly said, “This is what’s wrong with boxing.“ Even without elaborating, his statement meant the decision was unfair.

Then former welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley, Jr. said “I believe Pacquiao won the fight!”

And, yes, I think we have to agree Pacman should have won, at best the fight should have been declared a draw.

Admittedly, Horn’s fast and furious tactic, strategically aimed to upset Pacquiao’s rhythm, succeeded. It obviously surprised the Pacman. In my card, the first three rounds went to Horn. The others should belong to Pacman especially the ninth canto that almost knocked down Horn. I scored it 115-113 for Pacman.

Many agreed that Pacquiao was not the Pacman that they used to see. Gone were his 1-2-3-4-5 combinations and elusive moves that they saw when he fought Antonio Margarito, Oscar dela Hoya, Chris Algeiri, to name some. While his guts-spilling passion might still be there, his speed and the punching power obviously slackened. Perhaps it’s father time, as many said. It’s time for him to retire like what his chief trainer Freddie Roach, Pacman’s wife Jinky and his mother Dionesia suggest. But I believe this is not the case for Top Rank Promotions czar Bob Arum for obvious reasons. The shrewd Arum will earn more money if Pacman continues to fight. Amen?

The contract stipulated a rematch if Pacman losses the bout so a return bout is in the offing. Hopefully it will be staged here in the Philippines, a proposition that Horn said he’s amenable to. But Arum prefers to do it again in Brisbane for obvious reason, the tremendous crowd. If not here, better to take it to  a neutral place like Las Vegas.  Pacquiao has to avenge his defeat to remain great before he retires. He has nothing more to prove whether he wins or even lose again. But I’m confident he’ll win the rematch. His record speaks for itself. He never lost his second fight with the same opponent, like to Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Bradley. Yes, a rematch is the best way to resolve the controversial decision.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” LUKE 4: 8

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