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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson

Mixed views on Manny’s likely foe

By Joaquin Henson
28 Jan 2017

Angeles City resident Bruce McTavish said the other day WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao would knock out Jeff Horn in three or four rounds but another boxing official Danrex Tapdasan warned that if the unbeaten Australian lands his right on the button, a huge upset could happen if ever the fighters face off as planned in April.

It’s still not confirmed if Pacquiao, 38, will take on Horn, 28, but Top Rank CEO Bob Arum seems to be moving in that direction with Brisbane or Dubai the probable site on April 23. Horn has declared his availability for the bout which would be a title defense for Pacquiao in case it pushes through. What makes the fight more than likely is Arum’s co-promotional deal with New Zealand outfit Duco Events which owns Horn’s rights.

McTavish, 76, was a judge in Horn’s fight against Germany’s Rico Mueller in Chandler, Queensland, last October. It was a one-sided contest with McTavish and two other judges Adam Height of Australia and Holgen Wiemann of Germany scoring it 80-72, all for Horn, before Michigan referee Sam Williams stopped it at 2:19 of the ninth round. Horn retained his IBF Intercontinental welterweight crown in the process.

McTavish, a New Zealander who has lived in the Philippines for 50 years and is still waiting for his naturalization six years after it was filed in Congress, said Horn reminds him of Pacquiao victim Chris Algieri. In 2014, Algieri was unbeaten when he battled Pacquiao in Macau. Algieri, who stands 5-10 and is an inch taller than Horn, took six trips to the canvas and was badly battered in losing on points.

“Horn’s not a strong puncher like Algieri and they’re about the same height,” said McTavish, a well-respected boxing official all over the world. “They fight the same style. Horn was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Olympics so that amateur background accounts for his high level of boxing skills. He has a nice jab and good footwork. But I don’t think he can take Manny’s power.”

McTavish said when he was a judge in Horn’s fight against Mueller, the Australian almost fell on his laps. “Horn wasn’t hit but lost his balance and fell out of the ring,” said McTavish. “He landed on my shoulders. I guess you can say I’ve been up close and personal with Horn.”

McTavish said Horn’s impatience could prove to be his undoing. “He’s fine fighting from distance but he likes to mix it up,” said McTavish. “To beat Manny, you’ve got to jab and move. He’s taller than Manny by about three inches and he has a slight edge in reach. If Horn decides to slug it out, I don’t think he’ll last three or four rounds.”

Tapdasan, 38, is both a referee and judge like McTavish. A lawyer, Tapdasan is one of the most sought-after ring officials in Asia today with highly-acclaimed engagements in China, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Dubai, Australia, India, Macau and New Zealand. Tapdasan has also worked fights in Ghana.

Last August, Tapdasan was the third man in the ring when Horn faced former IBF welterweight titlist Randall Bailey of Miami in Brisbane. Bailey was floored in the second round and Horn in the third. Bailey surrendered on his stool before the start of the eighth round with Horn way ahead in the three judges’ scorecards. Height had it 70-62 while Derek Milham of Australia and Ian Scott of New Zealand saw it 69-63. With the win, Horn claimed the vacant WBO Intercontinental welterweight title and retained his IBF Intercontinental championship.

Horn impressed the fans with his resiliency, coming from a knockdown to halt Bailey. Last December, Horn also got off the canvas to stop South Africa’s Ali Funeka in Auckland. The win over Funeka raised Horn’s record to 16-0-1, with 11 KOs.

Tapdasan likened Horn to former Pacquiao opponents Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. “I think Horn has the evasiveness, footwork and defense of Bradley and the timing of Marquez,” he said. “I consider Horn a dangerous opponent for Manny. This fighter, being relatively unknown to the majority of boxing fans, has nothing to lose and everything to gain in this bout. He will have the highest motivation to consider this fight as his once-in-a-lifetime ticket to stardom.”

Tapdasan said he expects Horn to use his height and right hand to advantage. “Horn has a height advantage over Manny, 5-9 to 5-6, and the power in his right hand is a big factor,” he said. “If Horn lands his right perfectly on Pacquiao, we might witness a huge upset.”

Tapdasan said based on his experience in working Horn’s bout against Bailey, his evaluation is the Australian is durable and fights with a lot of heart. “Horn has a style of a boxer-puncher,” he said. “He has good footwork, both to evade his opponents’ punches and to produce good angles for him to deliver his punches. Horn dominated the fight (against Bailey) by moving around the ring well while frustrating Bailey who couldn’t keep up with his footwork and movement.”

Tapdasan said Horn is underrated as a big puncher. “I think Horn is a powerful puncher,” he said. “Horn’s usual knockout punch is the right straight or right hook. Against Bailey, he punished him for the vast majority of the rounds, forcing him to give up on his stool at the end of the seventh round. In the third round, Horn was hit with a perfectly-executed overhand right which is Bailey’s money punch. However, Horn absorbed the punch well and was able to recover.”

Horn was only six years old when Pacquiao turned pro in 1995. Pacquiao’s experience is overwhelming as he has logged 67 fights to Horn’s 17. But Horn has been more active since his pro debut in 2013 with 17 fights to only six for Pacquiao. When Horn turned pro, Pacquiao had already captured eight world titles in eight different weight divisions.

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