It was the fight that enthralled the nation, but not everybody was happy with the result.
Australian 2012 Olympian Jeff Horn won a unanimous twelve round decision against Manny Pacquiao to capture the WBO welterweight title before a crowd of over 50,000 at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, leaving the sporting world divided.
Controversial former world champion Anthony Mundine declared Horn had ‘manifested his dream into reality’, and Sports Sunday presenter Emma Freedman called Horn’s performance ‘extraordinary’. But ESPN personality Stephen A Smith called Horn's win 'highway robbery' in his analysis following the fight.
Horn’s legs looked to have lost their spring after a brutal ninth round and referee Mark Nelson barked in Horn’s busted face: “Show me something in this (next) round or I’m stopping the fight.”
For avid boxing fan Wendell Sailor, the dual international, there was exhilaration when Horn was announced as world champion because he felt the decision would go Pacquaio’s way.
“I’ve seen Mundine-Green fights and plenty of others but nothing rates with this,” Sailor said. “Hats off to Jeff Horn, he knows who he is and the heart he has inside because that was a close, close fight."
Junior welterweight Michael Katsidis, 36, twice fought for the world lightweight title and lost so he knows the fine margins of his tough profession.
“You know, I thought Pacquaio would win the fight inside the distance and Jeff Horn has made himself a legend,” Katsidis said.
“Good on him. There’ll be a rematch. Bet on it because Manny is a fighter first of all.”
Queensland coach Kevin Walters took the buzz of fight day into his final selection meeting to settle on his line-up for the heavyweight State of Origin decider against NSW on Wednesday week.
“The rows and rows of fans on the infield surrounding the ring ... Lang Park has never seen anything like this,” Walters said.