Dougie’s Monday mailbag

By Doug Fischer

PACQUIAO-HORN & COMPUBOX

Hey Doug,

Hope the weekend is treating you well. I just got finished watching Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn and man there were two huge surprises for me. The first is Horn. While his skill level was about in line with what I had previously seen and expected I severely underestimated his toughness and determination. He left it all in the ring, and good on it for him.

That being said I thought Manny clearly won. It seemed even more obvious when the first score was read as 117-111. When I heard that I thought it must be for Manny because there’s no way that fight could be scored 117-111 for Horn. Thus, the second huge surprise was obviously when Horn got the decision. I know that Compubox doesn’t always show the full story but they had Manny landing 90 more punches at 35% accuracy to Horn’s 15%. I think that shows that while Horn had a lot of aggression it wasn’t particularly effective. Despite buckling Manny once, the shots Horn was landing weren’t having nearly the same effect that Manny’s were. He beat Horn’s ass so bad in Round 9 that Horn’s corner had to beg the ref not to end it. That being said, Horn came out and gave a good account of himself in the last rounds but still… So to my questions:

  1. How’d you have the fight?
  2. Why do you think the judges scored it the way they did? (Do you think there was some home cooking?)
  3. How does Compubox count punches? Is it just a couple dudes in a room watching the fight or are there computers involved as the name implies?

As always, I’m a huge fan, and I now look forward to Mondays as much as Fridays. Hope you and your family are well. Best. – Graham

We’re good, Graham. Thanks for asking and thanks for the kind words.

I wasn’t surprised by Horn’s durability or with the guts he exhibited against a future hall of famer. He’s been on my radar since he beat Randall Bailey and I think he’s got underrated ability and an awkwardness to his style and rhythm that probably makes him more difficult to fight than it appears from outside the ropes.

I was surprised by the scorecards, although I shouldn’t have been. It was a close and competitive fight, and in my eyes there was a clear winner – Pacquiao – however, given where the fight took place and given the low expectations most fans and media had for Horn, I should have expected the possibility of Horn winning in his native country after the game effort he put up.

How’d you have the fight? I scored it seven rounds to five (or 115-113) for Pacquiao, and I thought I was being generous to Horn (who won Rounds 1, 6, 7, 10 and 12 on my very unofficial card). As I tweeted immediately after the fight, I could see 116-112 for Pacquiao. And I could see 115-112 or 116-111 for the Filipino legend. Despite the competitive nature of the bout, I can’t see Horn winning more than five rounds. Even some of the rounds I scored for him (Rounds 6 and 10) could have gone Manny’s way, in my opinion.

Why do you think the judges scored it the way they did? (Do you think there was some home cooking?) I think there was A LOT of home cooking with Waleska Roldan’s 117-111 card. She’s from New York but I think she earned honorary Australian citizenship with that tally. I believe the other two judges were influenced by that huge outdoor stadium crowd. I think the cheers for Horn whenever the gutsy challenger battled back (effectively or not) after getting smacked upside his head gave him the edge in close rounds.

How does Compubox count punches? Is it just a couple dudes in a room watching the fight or are there computers involved as the name implies? There are computers involved but they’re being operated by “a couple dudes” that are usually ringside (one assigned to each fighter) and watching closely.

JUDGES WERE SWAYED BY BLOOD & GUTS

Hey Doug hope everything is going well.

I thought, like the majority, that Pac-Man won. I thought the judges were swayed by Horn’s heart like with Kovalev-Ward 1 where Ward showed a lot of heart. I also believe the judges were swayed by all the blood from the head butts like in Chocolatito-Sor Rugasavai 1.

A fight should be judged on who lands the more affective punches not on heart or blood from headbutts.

Do you agree with Teddy Atlas that it’s corruption?

To me there is no other sport like boxing I’m a diehard fan but it sure needs to do something about these robberies.

I just finished reading Boxing’s Greatest Fighters by Bert Sugar what boxing books would you recommend? – Robbie M.

I’m currently reading Pound For Pound: A Biography of Sugar Ray Robinson by Herb Boyd (with Ray Robinson II). I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to read it (as it was published in 2006) but it’s an excellent read that includes a lot of details about Robinson’s personal/family life, childhood and amateur career (both sanctioned and off-the-record “smokers”), and it also provides a lot of historical context (which I’m into). I highly recommend it.

I don’t consider Horn’s victory to be a “robbery” but I can’t blame fans (both hardcore and casual) for being turned off by yet another unpopular decision. The 117-111 scorecard is very hard to defend. It’s almost as dubious and suspect as those two 120-108 tallies for Robert Easter Jr., who defended his IBF lightweight title against hardnosed Russian challenger Denis Shafikov in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio, on Friday. It’s not that the wrong guy won in the Easter-Shafikov fight, because it was close (with a slight edge going to the more versatile defending beltholder, although I scored it even), but the fact that the hometown fighter got MORE than the benefit of the doubt in every round on two official scorecards makes boxing look very bad.

I thought the judges were swayed by Horn’s heart like with Kovalev-Ward 1 where Ward showed a lot of heart. I also believe the judges were swayed by all the blood from the head butts like in Chocolatito-Sor Rugasavai 1. I think you’re right. Although Pacquiao-Horn didn’t outrage or piss me off to the extent that those two controversial decisions did. I still think the wrong guy won. But it’s only human to be affected by a courageous effort or by the sight of blood. I think I scored Round 10 for Horn because of how well he bounced back from the beating he absorbed in Round 9. I thought it was a close round, but the heart he showed in the face of adversity probably had as much impact on my scoring of that round as the punches he landed. And since Pacquiao didn’t close the show (as he should have), that probably counted against him in my mind, even though he landed his share of punches. (by the way, I think Pac could have been swayed by his blood as much as the judges. Even when he was in his prime, he would get rattled by head clashes that produced blood.)

A fight should be judged on who lands the more affective punches not on heart or blood from headbutts. Of course! It’s so damn simple! Why can’t PROFESSIONAL boxing judges do this!?!

Do you agree with Teddy Atlas that it’s corruption? I don’t agree with that and I don’t think that’s a word anyone should bring up without proof, but I can understand his frustration and the outrage that any longtime fan felt Saturday night because we’ve all seen way too many poor or questionable scorecards in our lifetimes. Having said that, I’m going to keep a very close on Waleska Roldan, who turned in a 113-113 scorecard for Gonzalez-Sor Rungvisai I (which was admittedly better than the other two official tallies) and a 76-74 score for Marcus Browne in the New Yorker’s eight-round split decision over Radivoje Kalajdzic last April. Just because I don’t think the word “corruption” should be tossed around doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or that we shouldn’t be vigilant in keeping an out for it.

AN AUSSIE PERSPECTIVE OF PAC-HORN

Hi Doug,

First of all, thank you for creating and procuring such great content for fans of this great sport. It is very much appreciated by us boxing fans from all over the world.

PAC V Horn. From an Australian perspective, this fight was monumental. I think it got lost in the shuffle to the US and overseas media and probably rightfully so. The promotion in Australia was lacking leading up to the event but 2 weeks out, it went into overtime. Back page of the Melbourne daily paper for fight week and the excitement organically built. This was a MASSIVE event in our country. To have the only 8 division world champion in boxing history fighting on our shores was a real privilege. A true living legend defending his title (granted, past his prime), was not lost on the mainstream media and received unprecedented coverage in AUS.

I thought it was a close fight, after watching it three times (as of Sunday afternoon/Saturday night in US) I genuinely think Jeff Horn won by two rounds. He won the majority of early rounds, fought with aggression and showed true character in adversity. This was an old school FIGHT. Call me bias, I’ll accept it…but Jeff Horn’s win galvanized the Australian sporting world like I have never seen before. That young man changed his life. On the domestic broadcast, former IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Barry Michael was almost brought to tears, I had a lump in my throat also. This was a major event in our country and Jeff Horn rose to the occasion, whether the international media think he won or lost. Jeff Horn may be our best fighter at the moment (I have my eyes on the Moloney twins, super prospects), but we all walk a little taller after watching Jeff Horn go through hell and never take a backwards step. Also, Manny Pacquiao is a true class act. Who would have thought an event staged in Brisbane between two true gentleman would be successful in this day and age?

Population wise and geographically we are not attractive to promoters, but we will show up and make for a great event!

The adrenaline is still pumping…but I hope Jeff Horn’s upset win can ignite the Aussie boxing scene…and land more world class fights in Australia. Maybe we’ll be considered for the GGG V Canelo rematch haha. Just quickly though Doug, whatever you think of the fight, I and many others are proud to have a tough as nails fighter like Jeff Horn represent us on the world stage.

Sorry for the long e-mail, I’ll chalk it up to post-fight emotion.

All the best to you and your family Doug. What a year, hopefully it can continue. Thanks again. – Zack, Melbourne, AUS

It has been a very eventful year in boxing – and we’re only half-way through it. Hopefully, the major events that take place during the second half of 2017 can avoid controversial scorecards and officiating.

Australians should be proud of Horn. Whether you think he deserved the nod or not, he exceeded expectations – against all odds – for the biggest fight of his career and by far the highest-profile boxing event that’s been held in Australia in several years (if not decades).

Horn’s an awkwardly aggressive, rugged but likable sort, not unlike Shawn Porter. He comes to fight, which is welcome, but he can also make the fight ugly (and bloody), which can be a turn off. But if he is forced to face Pacquiao in an immediate rematch, I’ll be rooting for the young man along with you and your countrymen because I think the sport needs new blood and I want more markets to open up for boxing internationally. If Horn can rekindle the boxing scene in Australia, and young guns like Tim Tszyu and the Moloney twins can be brought up on his undercards, more power to him. And if he can beat Pacquiao again – without controversy, of course – then nobody can deny that he’s a legit player in the deep glamor division that is welterweight.

Personally, I’d rather see Horn take on the likes of Danny Garcia (who I’m sure would like another crack at a major 147-pound belt), Jessie Vargas (who is highly rated by the WBO) or the always entertaining Lucas Matthysse (who looked darn good in his welterweight debut in May) than watch him butt heads (pun intended) with Oldman Manny again. I think those are competitive and entertaining matchups for “The Hornet.” And if one or more matchups of that significance can take place in Australia, I’m sure boxing’s profile will continue to rise in your area of the world.

Thanks for the very kind words at the start of your email, Zack.

FROZEN SEAFOOD

Hey Dougie –

Watching Pacquiao fight yesterday left me feeling deflated. A bit like eating frozen seafood. On the menu it sounds good. You go ahead and order it with high hopes but after the first mouthful it hits you. It pales in comparison to what it “used to be”, when it was fresh. You should have known better.

Pacquiao’s fights, like frozen seafood, should now be left alone. They are both well past their prime.

I hope all is well with you and your family Dougie. Peace. – Craig Brewer, Singapore

That’s a harsh-but-accurate analogy, Craig. At least fans in American did not have to shell out an extra $70 to eat that frozen seafood.

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been over Pacquiao for at least the past five or six years, but to be honest, I thought the frozen seafood was half decent on Saturday. Pacquiao has slid enough to allow a tough and determined S.O.B. like Horn to get in his ass a little bit. Horn’s will and Pac’s skill combined to make for a compelling 12-round fight that had its share of drama and entertainment.

However, while Pacquiao has the experience and skill to make for brisk distance fights against much younger/fresher opponents, you’re absolutely correct that these performances pale in comparison to the 12-round thrillers he once put against Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales. He still has decent speed, reflexes and punch output for a 38-year-old veteran who turned pro in January 1995 and has engaged in almost 70 bouts, but he looks sluggish compared to the explosive world-class dynamo he was from 2001-2010.

Had the version of Pacquiao that struggled with Horn on Saturday been in with an elite boxer, such as Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr. or Keith Thurman, he very likely would have been KTFO. And you know what? That’s probably what it’s going to take to get him to retire for good.

PACQUIAO ROBBED DIRTY

Hi Doug,

To say that I’m disgusted with the decision isn’t enough to express how I feel. Throughout the fight I kept yelling at the referee to do something about Horn’s dirty tactics, headbutts, holding, hitting while holding, putting his whole weight on top of Manny, hitting with the back of his glove, etc, etc. It not only cost Manny two cuts, it ended up costing him the fight.

Last week with Ward-Kovalev 2 we saw the same thing, referees letting guys get away with illegal holding, headbutting and low blows. Yes, we complain about judges in the sport, but how about we start complaining about referees and start teaching them the freakin’ rule book?

Now, excuse my French, but why the f__k would you want to rob a class act like Manny Pacquiao? It was sad to see Manny say that it was the judges’ decision and he respects that just like when he got robbed against commentary expert analyst Timothy Bradley. Man, come on, this guy deserves more respect than that. He has given the sport a lot and even today, when he’s clearly lost a step, still gives us better fights than the so-called pound-for-pound leaders, ahem, Andre Ward.

Manny isn’t the same though and for the first time I think I would make him an underdog against guys that wouldn’t be able to carry his jock strap in his prime. Yes, guys like Spence, Thurman, even guys like Garcia and Porter would be a difficult matchup against this version of the Pac monster. I wouldn’t want to see Manny beat up, I’d rather see him come back to Australia and avenge his “defeat”.

Sorry for the rant but I’m pissed. – Juan Valverde

I don’t blame ya, Juan. And I don’t blame anybody for being outraged or sour on the sport after the latest disputed/controversial decision in a high-profile bout.

I agree that Horn got away with his share of roughhouse tactics, but I figured at least some of the headbutts were due to the style matchup. Horn’s got a weird rhythm (which I think is to his advantage) and his awkward aggression didn’t always mesh well with Pacquiao’s usual in-and-out boxing.

Horn’s sneakier than I gave him credit for. He’s got different “looks” for his right hand and he’s not as straight forward or squared up as he seems. In other words, I don’t think it was easy for Pacquaio to anticipate what the Aussie was going to do.

Sometimes Horn would back away just when it looked like he was on the attack. Other times he rushed in just when it seemed like was going to circle away. I could be wrong (or just overanalyzing Horn’s style and the matchup), but I think not being able to “read” the unheralded challenger as well as he could figure out recent opponents (a familiar foe in Bradley and a more orthodox boxer in Vargas) contributed to Pacquaio’s difficulties (including the headbutts).

However, you’re correct in pointing out that Horn often led with his head and that he employed a lot of holding, grappling and holding-and-hitting whenever he was in close to Pacquiao. I guess I wasn’t as upset with these tactics as you were because I expected the naturally bigger (and slower man) to physically impose himself on the older smaller man as much as he could. Horn wasn’t going to beat Pacquiao without mugging him. He had to fight like a bare-knuckle throwback to have any prayer of not being totally outclassed, not box by strict Queensberry Rules. But that’s what Horn had to do. The referee’s job is to enforce the rules, and I think you have a point that Mark Nelson could have done more to ensure that the boxers fought a clean fight.

LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR CRAWFORD

Hey Doug,

No way Horn legitimately won the fight, even if he put in a great effort.

But isn’t it a shame, that they didn’t give Terence Crawford a shot instead of Horn? I think he really would have destroyed Pac and it would be well deserved that Bud gets some publicity.

Do you think there is still a chance for that fight?

And thanks for posting the videos with Coach Schwartz. If there ever will be a Bing-Bang-Theory for boxing, you´re in. You´re the biggest boxing-nerd on earth.

Keep up the good work. – Leonard

Will do, Leonard. Thanks for the boxing-nerd compliment (I think).

Do I think there’s still a chance for Pacquiao-Crawford to happen? Sure, it’s possible. Pacquiao would need to win a rematch against Horn and have no other viable opponent option, and Crawford would need to look great against Julius Indongo next month and continue to raise his profile in the boxing world – but those things are very possible.

My question for you: Given Pacquiao’s age, the late stage of his career that he’s in, and how looked against Horn, how much would a victory over him mean for Crawford?

I considered Crawford a strong favorite to beat Pacquiao before the Horn fight. Now I don’t care to see Bud fight faded future hall of famer. It’s no longer a test for the 140-pound champ. I’d rather see Crawford pit his skill and will against the likes of Thurman, Spence, Porter, or even lesser-proven welterweights such as Matthysse or the Broner-Garcia winner.

I don’t care to see Pacquiao get the s__t kicked out of him for nine or 10 rounds until Freddie Roach throws in the towel. I want to see Bud in good matchups and competitive fights of real significance.

But that’s just me.

NONSENSE

Dear Dougie,

Saturday night was bad for boxing. Though the fight had some action and blood, the decision was such putrid nonsense any casual fan watching would have a WTF reaction. I would like to consider myself a hardcore fan and as soon as I heard the decision I shut off the TV and went to bed bitter. It ruined what was a somewhat entertaining fight and makes me not take boxing seriously.

This morning waking groggy from having to stay up to 1:00 am in the morning (another inhuman aspect of boxing even when it is not in Australia), I had to actually check the internet to confirm I did not dream that crap decision.

All that being said, Pac is a shell of his former self. Though he clearly won the fight by any measure he should consider hanging it up. Did you not find his timing to be severely off?

Regards. – Aaron (the disgruntled boxing fan in Miami who feels Boxing is fixed and or incompetent)

I did view Pacquiao’s timing as being off against Horn but as I detailed in a previous email response, I think the Australian’s somewhat off-beat style was a factor. However, the main factor is that Pacquiao’s body is feeling the wear and tear of a hard 22-year career in professional boxing.

Pacquiao has fought 21 men who held major titles, including current hall of famers Oscar De La Hoya and Marco Antonio Barrera (twice) and fellow future first-ballot HOFers Floyd Mayweather Jr., Erik Morales (three times), Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and, of course, his arch nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez (four freakin’ times). Toss in talented tough eggs like Tim Bradley, Ricky Hatton and Chatchai Sasakul (some of whom will probably also get into the IBHOF) and, well, you get the picture: Manny did not half-ass it. He challenged himself to the ultimate extreme and now his body can no longer do what it once did.

And he’s not nearly as hungry as he was back when he was going up against Mexico’s triple threat as a featherweight and junior lightweight.

Saturday night was bad for boxing. You’re probably right but I hope you’re wrong.

Though the fight had some action and blood, the decision was such putrid nonsense any casual fan watching would have a WTF reaction. Yep, and typically over-the-top reactions of Teddy Atlas and Stephen A. Smith probably fanned those “WTF!?” flames.

I would like to consider myself a hardcore fan and as soon as I heard the decision I shut off the TV and went to bed bitter. You probably did yourself a favor. The ESPN talking heads chattered on and on in a rather annoying loop for more than an hour after the fight ended.

It ruined what was a somewhat entertaining fight and makes me not take boxing seriously. I can’t really blame you for feeling this way.

This morning waking groggy from having to stay up to 1:00 am in the morning (another inhuman aspect of boxing even when it is not in Australia), I had to actually check the internet to confirm I did not dream that crap decision. I’m guessing that it didn’t change your opinion of the fight when you learned that Paulie Malignaggi and the BoxNation commentators believe Horn deserved to win, or that former RING editor Nigel Collins and Bob Arum don’t think the decision should be considered a “robbery.”

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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