Horn survives late barrage to stun Pacquiao
Jeff Horn pulled off a stunning upset by defeating Manny Pacquiao via a controversial unanimous decision to capture the WBO welterweight crown at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Fighting in his home town in front of a crowd upwards of 50,000, 29-year-old former schoolteacher Horn showed no signs of being overawed in the biggest test of his career and made a mockery of his huge underdog tag as he more than matched his Filipino foe.
Pacquiao, one of the finest fighters of his generation after world title wins in eight weight classes, finished the stronger of the two and seemed to have done enough to retain his 147lb world title. But two judges scored the fight 115-113 and the third had it 117-111 in favour of Horn, condemning 38-year-old Pacquiao to the seventh defeat of an illustrious 68-fight pro career.
Pacquiao has now lost four of his last nine fights and this latest setback could signal the end of his career.
He was expected to overcome the unheralded Horn in an effort to entice Floyd Mayweather into a rematch of their super-fight, but the unbeaten Australian rose to the occasion in what was only his 18th fight in the paid ranks.
Pacquiao opened up a cut over Horn's left eye in the third round but the Filipino was left bloodied himself following accidental clashes of heads in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Horn troubled the overwhelming favourite over the middle part of the fight but Pacquiao was beginning to warm to his task in the eighth and a ferocious assault in the ninth seriously wobbled his opponent.
Having somehow stayed on his feet, Horn kept pouring forwards but it was Pacquiao who was on top over the closing stages of a scrappy contest, only for the judges to side with the challenger.