On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao fought Jeff Horn for Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight title. Although many fans and experts saw Pacquiao as the clear winner of the fight, the judges in Australia thought differently. Jeff Horn was crowned the winner of the fight by unanimous decision. While the decision was controversial on its own, it is indicative of the wider problems facing the boxing world.
The numbers favored Pacquiao, and by a wide margin. But it doesn’t take a statistician to figure out that Horn took more hits. The layman could take a look at the two fighters after the match and see that Horn was in worse shape.
Boxing’s official scoring systems are stuck in the previous century. ESPN and other media outlets were carefully tracking how many punches were thrown by each fighter, how many were landed, etc. We don’t need to rely fully on judges anymore. We have the technology!
However, Horn’s victory may have helped alleviate one of boxing’s primary flaws in the 21st century. Who cares about boxing? If you ask most people to name four boxers; they couldn’t do it. If you ask the average person who the heavyweight champion of the world is; they couldn’t do it. The world has moved on to the personalities of the UFC, and boxing hasn’t kept up. Gone are the days of Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, and Mike Tyson. Even the likes of Pacquiao and Mayweather are past their prime, and headed into retirement.
People still want to like boxing. The Mayweather-McGregor fight is going to be one of the most watched fights in history, and is going to make an insane amount of money for everyone involved. Mayweather is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in history, and he’s going to be fighting a man who has never boxed professionally. Ever. When the biggest fight of the last decade involves a literal amateur, it may be time to hit the panic button.
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Photo credit: Chris Hyde, Getty Images