Michael Koncz, the long-time adviser to eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao, agrees with the opinion of Top Rank’s CEO Bob Arum – who felt Pacquiao’s corner was overconfident and unprepared for last weekend’s world title defense against 2012 Australian Olympian Jeff Horn.
Pacquiao’s head trainer, Freddie Roach, and other members of the corner, admit they very surprised with the toughness and the durability of Horn. Prior to the contest, they were giving Horn zero chance of wining.
Horn upset the odds, winning a twelve round unanimous decision to capture Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title before a crowd of over 51,000 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. The three judges were in agreement, scoring the contest 115-113, 115-113 and 117-111 for Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs).
The veteran promoter believes the entire corner dropped the ball in what was a very winnable fight for the eight division world champion. And Arum says the entire corner should be on point here – including head trainer Freddie Roach, assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez, conditioning coach Justin Fortune and cut man Miguel Diaz.
“What the hell is wrong with that corner? Why wasn’t Freddie Roach out in the ring between rounds yelling at the referee? It’s his job, and there’s confusion in the corner with the languages, with Buboy and Miguel Diaz yelling and screaming like a maniac,” said Arum to The Los Angeles Times.
“And Freddie has to stay close to Manny to give him some advice … to me, they were so overconfident going in — Justin Fortune tells the press that the only way Horn can win is if Manny trips going into the ring. I had seen the kid. I told everybody he was a big, tough kid who could take a punch. I didn’t think he’d beat Manny, but it wasn’t the same Manny.”
Koncz, also felt the corner was lacking.
“The corner didn’t have a strategy. They were all amazed Jeff Horn was such a tough, rugged fighter and they didn’t adapt to it. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but the bottom line is the kid had a lot of heart and came to win and did everything he could to get it, and the referee let him do more than he should have,” Koncz said.
“If we go back to Australia, I’ll be more involved with the promotion and the selection of the judges and referee. I relied heavily on the WBO. Everybody can be blamed for everything for this. If we do have a rematch, there’s got to be a lot of changes. We’re not sure he’s ever going to fight again. I told Manny before the fight that if things didn’t happen, we would sit down and make decisions on what we need to do.”