Although I haven’t met him personally I’m told by a reputable source (my Dad, who used to be Lord Mayor Graham Quirke’ s driver and has known his cousin the Hornet for years, since way back before he was a boxer) that Jeff Horn is a lovely bloke, and from what I’ve seen of the bloke there’s no reason not to believe him. Horn’s been a fine ambassador for both Brisvegas and for boxing, and the fighter’s conduct during his career has brought great credit to himself, his city and his sport.
Horn’s what they call in the boxing world a stand up guy, one of that rare breed of upright and honest men who you find from time to time swimming in straight lines through pools full of bloodthirsty barracudas and man-eating sharks. The sort of fella that history tells us is always the first picked by the piranha for the first course of their sumptuous Sunday feast, the easy catch the fiendish fish call entree.
Amid all the hoopla and hype of a prize fight promotion, sitting in a comfortable seat at Suncorp Stadium with your senses dulled by the warmth of the soft Vegas sun, it’s easy to forget but this ain’t a gentle Sunday arvo outing to the opera or to watch Eddie Sheeran warble.
We’re on our way to the Colosseum to watch a blood sport. Sixty thousand people crowded around a small 6m x 6m square of canvas staring in rapture at two men inside fighting a metaphorical – and sometimes, far more often than palatable, actual – battle to the death.
Manners count for nothing inside the square. Nice guys always run last.
Horne’s decency is a knock in a knock em down war, but it’s not the ultimate reason that he faces his inevitable downfall.
That reason’s class, and it’s written in the numbers.
Boxing is like horse racing no matter how impressive your win in an Ipswich maiden might be, is the Melbourne Cup might still as well be a race run in Mars hypure mathematics, the numbers never lie. It’s the statistics that always tell the true tale of the tape. William Stubbs once famously told us that
the roots of the present lie deep in the past, and nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how the present comes to be what it is
And ain’t that the truth?
It’s a truth the reporters in our mainstream press appear to have overlooked, although truth be known they are simply in the main ignorant sloths who wouldn’t know the difference between an uppercut and the IBF, or an overhand right and the WBO. You really can’t blame them for not knowing something that they don’t, unless of course you still hold to that old belief that journalism is about uncovering facts, and then like me you might go digging and take a look at the roots.
Let’s talk class.
All but one of the fighters Pacquiao has faced up against in has past 5 fights have been world title belt holders. Between them they have collectively held more than 20 different world championships at given times, and the five including the bloke who had yet to win a title had fought an aggregate of 95 world championship bouts.
The sum total of world titles held at any time by Jeff Horn’s past five opponents is zero. Nil, zip, nada, none.
The bloke who knocked Horne down two fights ago before the Hornet climbed off the canvas and put him away, a German named Rico Mueller who is ranked 87th in the world in the welterweight ranks, fought a bloke with an 80% losing rate – 96 fights for 77 losses – in his next outing in the ring. Just four fights before taking on the Hornet our boy Horne’s last opponent Ali Funeka had been knocked out by a tomato can with who had lost or drawn 10 of his 19 career fights.
Two fights ago Manny Pacquiao took on a boxer of high repute named Timothy ‘the Desert Storm’ Bradley, a former soldier who has held five world titles throughout his career. Prior to his encounter with the Desert Storm the Pac-Man had gone the full twelve rounds with Floyd Mayweather, the 11 time world title holder quite rightly regarded as the greatest fighter of his generation, and immediately afterward he faced up to and beat Jessie Vargas, a three title holder who’s only previous loss was to none other than the Desert Storm.
Is a picture starting to form?
Let’s dig down a sub-strata and look at the numbers the self-interested promoters and the poorly informed press aren’t telling you.
Horne’s last 5 opponents in the ring had a collective record of 142 fights for 18 defeats, meaning that the blokes he had beaten had between them lost 1 in 8 of their career fights, none of them in the top grade.
Conversely the past 5 punchers that Pacquiao took on had a combined record of 162 bouts with only two losses, each of them fought in the highest echelon of the sport in title fights or qualifiers, a stat of less than 1 loss per 80 bouts, all of them against each other in the inner circle of the elite ranks of the sport.
Dig even further down and the picture becomes even more plain.
Let’s have a look at the Pac-Man and the Horner’s previous five opponents and examine the combined records of the previous five opponents that they had fought, and once more you need to view the number through the lens that Horne’s opponents had never fought for a title fight whereas Pacquiao’s all had.
Remember, we are looking at the combined records of the pugs that each of today’s title bout’s contenders last 5 opponents had faced up against. This is how it reads
Horne: 452 – 215
Pacquiao: 671 – 55
And the story it tells is that you’ve all been conned by a posse of promoters out to make a fast buck and then triple it, and a compliant press who haven’t got a clue.
Jeff Horne’s been fighting tomato cans, and getting knocked down or drawn into deep trouble by a couple of them.
Manny Pacquiao’s been fighting champions and, with the exception of the best pound for pound fighter walking the earth, been putting them away.
The reality of today’s fight is that it’s an Ipswich maiden winner facing up against Phar Lap in the Melbourne Cup. Short of incredible bad luck or horrific injury the Pac-Man can’t possibly lose and Horne simply can’t win, and don’t you worry about that.
So set aside your anticipation punters and simple enjoy your lazy day out in the sun as entertainment, and let’s all just hope that our boy doesn’t get hurt.
The truth might hurt Hornet fans.
But Manny Pacquiao hurts more.