By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Manny Pacquiao was upset by relatively unknown Australian Jeff Horn on the first Saturday of July in Brisbane, Australia. With the loss, he dropped his WBO welterweight title and it makes one wonder if this should be his last fight.
The judges cost Pacquiao the decision, as it was clear to many observers watching the fight that Pacquiao won. The statistics revealed Pacquiao had a distinct advantage with the number of punches connected and Horn was warned by the referee about potentially stopping the fight after a solid round, where the Filipino senator almost knocked the former Olympian boxer out. But Horn showed heart and resolve to finish the fight strong. Pacquiao was inadvertently cut on his hairline in the sixth round, which he said disturbed him during the rest of the fight.
Age and wear are starting to show on the 38-year-old Pacquiao, as he lacked the speed and timing and could not capitalize on openings to score major shots on his 29-year-old opponent.
The fight took place in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, as Pacquiao’s appeal has waned in the United States since his statement against same sex couples. The views cost Pacquiao his longtime sponsorship with Nike.
No longer a pay-per-view draw, the fight aired on ESPN. It was the first time Pacquiao did not fight on a pay-per-view channel since 2005. The good news for Pacquiao is that the viewership for the fight drew the best television ratings for a boxing event on ESPN in a decade. So, while people are unwilling to pay $70 to watch Manny Pacquiao fight, they are willing to watch it on cable television.
Some questioned taking the fight against Horn since he was relatively unknown, without a major fight and doing it in Horn’s hometown. No one could have thought that favoritism for the local fighter would have played into the decision since Horn was a huge underdog going into the fight. But judging in boxing is erratic. In June 2012, Pacquiao was on the wrong end of a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley as well.
Pacquiao went on to avenge the loss to Bradley. All 3 judges scored it unanimously for Horn, despite ESPN predicting Pacquiao the victor prior to the scorecards being read. Most boxing analysts believed that Pacquiao would stop Horn prior to the fight going to the judges.
Pacquiao has a rematch clause which he indicated he will use to fight the Australian again. But does anyone want to see a rematch with Horn aside from boxing fans in Australia?
At the highest point of Pacquiao’s popularity, his supporters never thought he would be relegated to a “has been” like other fighters that hold on to their ring career far beyond their expiration date. Yet, here we are.
He is taking damage more than he is used to and his speed is not on the level that once made him one of the most exciting boxers to watch.
While I question whether Pacquiao will fight again, we all know that he will. Maybe the more appropriate question is “should” he fight again. Although he had proclaimed that he would retire a couple of fights ago, it does not look like he is calling it quits. In fact, most boxers never truly leave the ring. Floyd Mayweather, for example, stated he was retired after a 49-0 record. Yet, he will fight next month against Conor McGregor in one of the biggest paydays in boxing. Pacquiao seems destined to continue along the line of boxers that linger on into their later years despite diminished skills.
Whether it is due to finances or his unwillingness to say goodbye to that portion of his life, we will see Pacquiao in the ring again. Even if Pacquiao comes back to win a couple of fights, he is not the same fighter you remembered prior to his upset by Timothy Bradley, his devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013, his one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather, and his statements about same-sex marriages. It seems that everyone, including Pacquiao, wants to chase down the past and relive the glory years of being on top. But those days are long gone.
Washington man wins TKD title
Fifty-two-year-old Jeffrey Chia of Clinton, Wash. won a world sparring title in his age division at the American Taekwondo Association World Championship in Little Rock, Ark. on June 23. Chia prevailed in the 50-59 age group. He also won second place in a “forms” competition. Chia practices out of Armstrong Taekwondo on Whidbey Island, Wash.
According to the South Whidbey Record, Chia earned one of 16 spots to compete at the world championships by winning at the state and district levels. Competitors from 26 countries competed at the world championships. A sparring match is comprised of three rounds, two minutes each. The judges base points on technique, style, and point of contact on strikes.
Chia defeated three opponents to earn the title. He started taekwondo, a form of Korean martial arts emphasizing kicking, when he was 13. But after a long hiatus, he took up the martial art again with his family.
Chia’s world title goes to show you that you are never too old to fulfill your dreams.
Jason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.