Legendary trainer praises Horn's bravery
JOHNNY Lewis, Australia's most successful fight trainer, says Jeff Horn clearly beat Manny Pacquiao on Sunday and that in more than 50 years of involvement in high-end sport he has never seen anything braver.
He says Horn would be a good chance now to beat Floyd Mayweather, who is unbeaten in 49 fights and who outpointed Pacquiao in 2015 in a bout that generated almost $1 billion in revenue.
Lewis, who trained six world boxing champions including Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu, said that on his scorecard Horn took the decision at Suncorp Stadium eight rounds to four.
"Jeff clearly won the fight," Lewis said.
"He won most of the early rounds 10-9 on my card.
"He dominated the first half, although he was badly hurt in the ninth round and you could have given that a 10-8 round to Manny.
"I was very worried about Jeff in the ninth and he doesn't want to take that sort of punishment ever again."
Lewis said he had "never seen anything braver" in all his years in sport with boxing champions and as a trainer for the Australian rugby league team.
"I thought the referee (American Mark Nelson) did a really great job. I was concerned that Jeff was hurt and I was scared that after doing so well and being way in front he was about to lose.
"But Jeff Horn is a really special athlete. He doesn't act tough, he doesn't talk tough because he doesn't have to.
"All that toughness comes from deep within. I've seen in a couple of his earlier fights when he's gone down and you can see him trying to get up even before he hits the canvas. That's pure guts.
"Every boxer who steps in the ring has to be brave - but Jeff Horn's bravery is at the highest level."
Lewis said he "would hate" to see Pacquiao take a rematch with Horn which is mooted for Suncorp in November.
"Manny can't go up any more to another level, but Jeff Horn can," he said.
"This kid just beat an all-time great in his 18th fight and with just four years as a pro. Anything is possible. Mayweather is a brilliant defensive fighter but Jeff Horn is improving all the time.
"Manny looked like a garden gnome in the fight and Jeff was so much bigger and stronger that he 'rag-dolled' him throughout - throwing him around all the time."
Lewis said Horn's polite demeanour and graciousness was "more than" a breath of fresh air for Australian sport.
"He's a blast of greatness," Lewis said.
"The whole country should be proud of what Jeff Horn has done and the way he conducted himself.
"I haven't been so proud of an Aussie sportsman for so long. I'm walking around like I'm 10-feet tall. It's like I've won the world title and I reckon that's the effect he's had on a lot of people in this country.
"Nick Kyrgios needs just a spoonful of Jeff Horn and he could achieve anything on the tennis court."
Lewis said Horn would be even better fighting as a 70kg junior-middleweight rather than a 66.7kg welterweight and was concerned that the new World Boxing Organization champ had to lose 4.6kg in 15 hours before the fight.
"I think you saw the effects of that weight loss in round nine when Jeff really struggled and Manny surged," Lewis said.
"But in the last three rounds you saw just what really makes a champion as Jeff fought back."