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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Manny Pacquiao open to rematch after controversial loss to Jeff Horn

Filipino's surprise defeat to unheralded Australian causes plenty of outrage from boxing fans.

A bloodied Manny Pacquiao in his corner during his fight against Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium.
A bloodied Manny Pacquiao in his corner during his fight against Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium.

Manny Pacquiao has said he will execute a rematch clause with Jeff Horn after the unheralded Australian won a controversial decision against the Filipino great to be crowned new WBO Welterweight champion on Sunday.

Two judges scored the bout 115-113 while the third had it 117-111 in favour of Horn, a former schoolteacher, to become a world champion in only his 18th professional fight, a result that has caused outrage from the boxing community and beyond.

Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers both took to Twitter to register their indignation at the verdict, seemingly agreeing with many observers that believe Pacquiao, who suffered a cut above his left eye after a clash of heads with Horn, edged the fight over 12 grueling rounds.

Lewis wrote: "This is what's wrong with boxing. Horn was very game but I'm hard pressed to see how he could have won that fight by any stretch!"

Rodgers was even more forthright. "Boxing is a joke, and it proves it again tonight. Are you kidding me with those scorecards? #joke #rigged," Rodgers said on Twitter.

The stats would appear to back them up: Horn landed just 15 per cent of his shots compared to Pacquiao's 32 per cent, a total of 92 compared to 182.

Pacquiao, 38, an eight-weight champion whose record now stands at 59 wins, seven losses and two draws, said he "respected" the judges' decision immediately following the bout at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, but later told Philippines television he thought he won the fight.

Before Sunday's bout, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said that should his charge lose it would be better for the "Pac-Man", who also works as a senator in the Philippines congress, to retire. However, given the sense of injustice from Pacquiao's camp following the fight, that seems unlikely.

When asked about the possibility of avenging his loss - the only defeat he has never avenged is his 2014 points loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr - Pacquiao said: "Absolutely, yes. We have a rematch clause, so no problem," before adding: "It would be better if the rematch would be held in the Philippines."

Horn, whose victory in front of 50,000 home fans at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium is by far the highlight of a career that now stands at 17 wins and one draw, said he was open to a rematch. “That’s fine. Bring it on,” he said.