Top Rank on ESPN Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn, Jerwin Ancajas vs Teiru Kinoshita, Michael Conlan vs Jarrett Owen & Shane Mosley Jr vs David Toussaint
BY KID HERSH
Top Rank on ESPN from Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, came "The Battle of Brisbane" between the legendary Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38KO's) and Australia's unknown but undefeated Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11KO's). Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas, and Timothy Bradley were on site to call the fight that is a huge event for Australia.
First up was Shane Mosley Jr (10-1, 7KO's) vs David Toussaint (10-0, 8KO's). The first round was fairly evenly matched but I felt that it was Toussaint that got the better of the action with his crisp counterpunches while Mosley was pushing his shots. In the second round Toussaint was landing lots of left hooks flush on Mosley and ended up stunning him a couple of times at the end of the secound round; first with a straight left and then by another right hook. The two traded to the bell with Mosley getting a good shot or two in but still was on the receiving end of the punishment and showed that Toussaint can hurt him when he lands flush. Toussaint was showing excellent boxing ability; in particular the fifth round when he was boxing from the outside, waiting for Mosley to come inside and then firing off crisp combinations and accurately and moving. Mosley continued following Toussaint around the ring instead of cutting the ring off and while he was still able to land some blows - even some flush power shots a few times - he was not able to put a dent in the tough Aussie who was outpointing him. To Mosleys credit he is in great shape and never stopped trying right up to the final bell in the eighth round. Not a terrible showing for him, just shows some chinks in the armor to work on. I may have spoke a bit too soon though because the first judges card came in for Mosley to my surprise. Despite that, the Aussie would stay undefeated via a razor thin split decision.
Next up was Michael Conlan (2-0, 2KO's) vs Jarrett Owen (5-4-3, 2KO's). In the first round Conlans class was made very clear over the jiu jitsu fighter who was circling the ring and looking to stay away from Conlan because every time he stopped moving Conlan would close the distance and hit him. It was more of the same in the second round until near the end of it when Conlan started going to the body and noticeably hurt Owen at the end of the round. It was a precursor of things to come as Conlan got the stoppage with more body punches and agrression in the third round. Good showing for Conlan here again - will be fun to watch him climb the ladder.
Next up was Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1, 17KO's), vs Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8KO's). In the first round Ancajas showed his spureme athleticsm as he bounced around and threw punches from odd angles (somewhat like his buddy Manny!) while Kinoshita looked like he just wanted the target to stay still. In the second round Kinoshita was bleeding by the end of the round from what was ruled a punch but sure looked like an accidental clash of heads. In any case Ancajas completely took over the fight and had full control in the third round as he tagged Kinoshita with lead punches and combinations seemingly at will. He was firing on all cylinders while Kinoshita was frozen in time and slow. The pattern continued with Kinoshita's right eye starting to close in the fifth round, and further in the sixth, as Ancajas looked like he was being a bit more patient with his wounded opponent in front of him. Kinoshita was fighting with a bit more fire but he was not doing any damage on Ancajas due to a lack of punch. Kinoshita is in great shape but not sitting pretty in this one as his eye is pretty much closed and Ancajas has a comfortable lead. In the seventh round Ancajas continued mounting the damage until he landed a beauty of a right hand to the body in the second half of the round that put Kinoshita down hard. Kinoshita was surprisingly bleeding very heavily despite the punch being a body shot and so the referee waved off the fight despite Kinoshita beating the count. Amazing performance by Ancajas here as he may have officially burst onto the scene to the entire world right now.
Main event time between Pacquiao and Horn. Referee was Mark Nelson. Horn surprisingly did well in the first round in a very awkwardly aggressive type of way. He was pushing Pacquiao backwards and firing punches from odd angles with odd timing in order to hit Pacquiao; even punching his mouthpiece right out two minutes into the round. The crowd was on its feet and most of us were surprised at his early success. In the second round we had more great action due to Jeff Horn really coming to win this fight. He was using his legs well and answering anything that Pacquiao threw and landed. Clearly his game plan is to outwork his older opponent and keep his work rate up and it is working thus far! Not sure if he won the second round, because Pacquiao had some very good moments such as his straight left hand two minutes into the round. Pacquiao continued taking over the fight in the third round as he was breaking down Horn by landing far more punches than he was taking and chipping away at Horns awkward defense as he figured him out with his own great footwork. Horn looked tired and a bit broken down by the end of the round - no doubt from many of the hooks Pacquiao is delivering clean. The action was fast and stayed fast in a very fun to watch fight. Horn was simply getting hit too much though and you could tell that eventually he was going to caught with something big. The first time we saw a chink in the armor from one of those big shots came at the end of the fifth round when Pacquiao hit him with left hands clean and flush that were now clearly doing damage as one of the shots stood up Horn straight right when the round ended. The sixth round had a shocker when with thirty seconds left in the round Horn landed a right hand that buckled the legs of Pacquiao. He slammed his gloves but his legs betrayed him on that shot. In the seventh round Pacquiao suffered another cut from an accidental clash of heads and was bleeding everywhere but to the fans delight the two fighters slugged it out with blood streaming down the Pacmans face. Horn saw the blood and went crazy with punches, going for the kill, with Pacquiao blasting out combinations in return to end the round. We got ourselves a fight! The fight ensued with one of the best rounds of the fight being the ninth when Horn sustained a lot of damage and was bleeding heavily from with right eye. Pacquiao was swarming him around the ring and landing more punches and Horn somehow managed to weather the storm and make it through the round. In the tenth round Horn was surprisingly recovered while Pacquiao let his foot off the gas just enough to let Horn have himself a good round, even pressing Pacquiao backwards at times. The final rounds were fairly close and hard to pick between the two fighters, with Pacquiao being a bit wild aggressive and Horn looking to still gain the upper hand in the fight. The feel was that Pacquiao was in control and Horn was right on the verge of taking control at times but could never quite grasp it. The scorecards came in a real surprise for everyone; 117-111, 115-113, 115-113 for Horn! Many people were grilling the decision from Stephen A Smith to Teddy Atlas but really, in my opinion, Pacquiao has to pace himself and the judges likely find it hard to give him certain rounds where is inactive for chunks at a time. Not saying he lost, I thought he won, but it was a close fight. One other thing I would like to point out is that everyone points to compubox all the time - which for this fight was saying that Horn only landed 90 punches in the fight at a 15% clip. Well....compubox is not a "statistical fact" lets keep in mind. Compubox is made by humans and prone to human error also, just like judging.