You know, life is sometimes just plain unfair.
If one had the chance to tell boxing icon Manny Pacquiao that nugget of wisdom today, more than likely he (and many, many others) would agree with you.
It’s hard to fathom how Australian boxer Jeff Horn, a relative newcomer to the sport, escaped a highly publicized, highly watched match over Pacquiao by a judge’s decision Saturday.
Primarily Saturday’s fight, held in Brisbane, Australia, was a bout Pacquiao dominated from start to finish.
Almost every expert, and armchair expert, penciled Pacquiao as the victor in one of boxing’s most compelling bouts since the first meeting between Apollo Creed and Rocky Balboa.
Pacquiao landed 31 percent of his punches, as opposed to 14 percent for Horn, according to CompuBox statistics. Pacquiao drove home 123 total power punches to Horn’s 73.
There was a moment in the ninth round where the referee threatened to stop the fight if Horn didn’t show he could defend himself
And yet, somehow, someway, Horn managed to win. And not only just win, but win by a unanimous decision over a champion boxer who’s taken on some of the world’s best pugilists.
Home cooking? Possibly. Bad judging? Absolutely.
But therein lies the biggest problem boxing faces outside of the burgeoning science behind concussions and head injures.
Poor judging isn’t a new thing in boxing, whether at the professional or Olympic level. A quick Google search rings up several stories over the past five to ten years of controversial decisions. Several stories also list possible and alleged corruption regarding some boxing match outcomes.
Now, I’m not going to say Saturday’s decision was the outcome of some sort of corrupt action. There’s no evidence to support anything like that.
But the result was one of the most controversial in the last few years.
A result like this tarnishes what was a truly magnificent fight, pitting Horn, the underdog, up against Pacquiao, the well-established veteran.
This, in essence, was today’s real-life equivalent of the “Rocky” films. Horn, to his credit, didn’t give up and kept fighting, even when Pacquiao delivered blow after blow.
Pacquiao kept prolonging the fight, unable to land that trademark knockout blow.
What’s tragic is how the entire world saw the shadow boxing has now become.
The days of Joe Lewis, Muhammad Ali, George Forman and other great boxers is gone.
What they brought was not only the physical component to the sport, but also the flashy and glamorous side.
They made it cool (at the time) to be a boxer. They made the sport fun to watch.
Today, it seems like a chore.
It’s hard to say where Saturday’s debacle lands when it comes to all-time bad sports calls.
This fight should have been the one that maybe helped boxing get itself off the canvas somewhat.
Instead, the sport is now taking a standing eight count in the corner.