One of boxing’s top experts, Teddy Atlas refused to accept the unanimous decision levied early Sunday morning when Jeff Horn scored an upset victory over Manny Pacquiao to capture the WBO welterweight championship.
Atlas, who scored the bout 116-112 for Pacquiao and was stunned along with the rest of the boxing world to see Horn win the fight and do so unanimously, chose not to hide his disdain for the result while sitting ringside doing commentary for ESPN.
“They give everybody a trophy. That’s what they did tonight. They gave a trophy — a win, a huge win — to Horn, the local kid, for trying hard. You’re not supposed to get it for trying hard! You’re supposed to get it for winning! And I thought Pacquiao won the fight if you go by the real rules, the Marquess of Queensbury rules — who lands the cleaner punches,” he said.
Moments later, the ESPN crew — Atlas, Joe Tesstore and Timothy Bradley Jr. — interviewed both fighters at ringside, and Atlas had no problem telling Horn to his face that he had no business winning the fight.
“Congratulations. Great effort. I thought you lost,” he said. “But great effort.”
While Atlas received deserved grief from fans early in the fight for not giving Horn enough credit during the opening rounds, it’s hard to argue with his unrelenting anger at the result of this bout. While some had this fight scored closer than Atlas, almost all experts agreed that Pacquiao still won. And even if not, the fact that Horn actually got a unanimous decision and a score of 117-111 from one judge was unbelievable.
That is what led Atlas to go further on SportsCenter after the fight. Noting that the judging on Sunday morning was either a result of incompetence of corruption, he made it clear no one could be so incompetent to judge the fight 117-111 for Horn.
“It’s a corrupt sport. I’ve been in the sport 45 years. I’m sorry. … It’s a little blunt … but we have a corrupt sport,” he said to open his appearance. “… What else could it be? Corruption.”