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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



No more animosity, please

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
09 Jul 2017



Now that WBO president Francisco Valcarcel has ordered a review of the scoring of the “Battle of Brisbane,” let’s all just wait for the findings of the handpicked five-man neutral panel tasked to revalidate the tallysheets of judges Waleska Roldan, Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan.

Not that the review will reverse the outcome of the fight. Valcarcel has made it crystal-clear that Jeff Horn’s win by a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao is irreversible unless there is proof of fraud or corruption or some kind of malicious intent. You and I know proof of this nature is virtually impossible to surface although there have been admissions in the past of judges accepting bribes to favor a fighter over the other.

What the findings will cause is peace of mind. If the five-man panel comes up with the conclusion that Horn deserved to win, then the Australian has even more to gloat about. If the finding is Pacquiao deserved to win, then it’s up to the fighting Senator to decide how to take it. Will he walk away from the ring with the affirmation that he shouldn’t have lost? Or will he exercise his option for a rematch and square things with Horn?

During his recent victory parade on Queen Street in Brisbane, Horn poked fun at Pacquiao and dug himself into the mud. He said when they were tied up in the ring, Pacquiao kept yelling “break” and since referee Mark Nelson didn’t call it, the former schoolteacher continued to punch. Horn said Pacquiao wasn’t the referee so why should he do what he says? The story drew laughter from Horn’s fans who seemed to ignore Pacquiao’s sense of sportsmanship.
****

While it’s true Horn had no obligation to break as Pacquiao called it, he should’ve been reprimanded by Nelson for repeated holding and clinching. In that sense, Horn wasn’t to blame. Nelson was the culprit for tolerating Horn’s roughhousing shenanigans. But Horn should’ve had the decency to at least acknowledge what Pacquiao tried to do by calling “break.” Pacquiao only meant to preserve the integrity of the sport as an art and science. Obviously, Horn had nothing of that in mind.

The conspiracy theory that Top Rank CEO Bob Arum was behind the “robbery” is surely grist for the rumor mill. There’s no better juice to hype a fight than controversy. Arum has gone public to confront members of Pacquiao’s team. What started the verbal tussle was the accusation that Arum tilted the balance for Horn to win because this was supposedly Top Rank’s last contracted fight with Pacquiao. Arum, however, denied it and said he’s contractually tied up with Pacquiao until next year. Whatever the case, Pacquiao said he’s not about to sever ties with Arum because of his huge debt of gratitude. Let’s face it, Pacquiao would never have become the global icon he is today without Arum’s magical maneuvering.

But as some members of Pacquiao’s team claim, that magical maneuvering has now turned against the Filipino because he’s in the twilight of his career and Arum needs to prop up the next breed of cash cows.
****

There’s also been finger-pointing in Pacquiao’s camp with rumors that if he decides to continue fighting, changes are expected in the composition of his corner. Just who will be axed is the subject of speculation. It’s also possible that everyone will be retained. At the rate the rumors are flying, anything is possible.

From all indications, Pacquiao won’t end his boxing career with a loss, particularly a disputed setback. While it’s true that Pacquiao appeared to run out of gas in the homestretch of the Horn fight, trainer Freddie Roach said it wasn’t because of age. It was more the bullying, brawling and manhandling that Nelson tolerated and eventually sapped Pacquiao. In a rematch with a competent referee, Horn wouldn’t be allowed to get away with what he did last Sunday and Pacquiao should have easy access to win convincingly.

At the moment, what should concern fans----whether they’re for Horn or Pacquiao----is the long-term safety of both fighters. After the brutal contest, Horn was whisked to a hospital for a two-hour checkup which presumably included a brain scan. Pacquiao never went to a hospital for a brain scan. From the ring, he entered his dugout and was brought to a private room where cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Roth sewed up his scalp wounds. After the stitching, Pacquiao returned to his hotel, presided in a Bible study and stayed awake playing chess and talking to friends.

If Pacquiao hasn’t taken a brain scan, it’s not too late to arrange. A neurologist said it’s advisable for Pacquiao to submit to an MRI of the brain or a CT-Scan within two weeks from the fight to check for damage. All that butting from Horn must have caused some kind of concussion. Before any talk of animosity, speculation or conspiracy theory, Pacquiao’s health must be the primal concern. He’s a national treasure, public servant and someone who brings honor to the country and pride to the Filipino people. Let’s make sure he’s not in any compromising health condition.


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