Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Commentary: Pacquiao-Horn and ‘Compucrock’

(Photo by Jono Searle/Bradley Kanaris Photography)

So, what shall we talk about?

I had Jeff Horn winning by three points over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday and took a cyber ass-whipping for it. I acknowledge that my opinion is in the minority and I certainly do not have the priority on the truth. No problem. I also had Andre Ward over Sergey Kovalev in fight one and Srisaket Sur Ringvisai over Roman Gonzalez. I was swimming in other people’s tears both of those weekends.

The difference with Pacquiao-Horn is the emphasis that has been placed on CompuBox statistics. More than any other fight I’ve encountered, the good ‘ole boys who hit the buttons every time a punch is thrown or lands have come under the spotlight. Compubox employees collate jab connects, jab misses, power punch connects, power punch misses and they work this miracle on a subjective basis from one side of a prize ring. And you thought Horn beating Pacquiao was an impossible task?

With that in mind, let’s crunch the numbers from the land down under and remove any unwanted viruses and malware. In fact, let’s throw the whole bloody computer in the dustbin.

CompuBox: Pacquiao outlanded Horn 10 punches to nine in Round 1

Yeah, I’ll crack the jokes. Horn was all over Pacquiao in the opening round. The Filipino legend merely had a look in what amounted to nothing more than reconnaissance. Horn landed to the mid-section and had more success up top. Pacquiao evaded some shots but he was tagged a lot more than Horn was. Not only are the numbers a joke, but this is where CompuBox’s legitimacy in this contest ends. If Horn is not credited for outlanding Pacquiao in this session, then I think we can assume that for reasons of glamour, or boxing style, that his work was simply not appreciated by the guys hitting the buttons. That is demonstrable.



CompuBox: Pacquiao better against Horn than against Bradley and Vargas

According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 147 of 408 (36 percent) against Jessie Vargas and 122 of 439 (28 percent) against Tim Bradley in fight three. Pacquiao, although obviously not as busy as he was in his heyday, was given full credit for both victories. Against Horn, he landed 182 of 573 (32 percent). So, Pacquiao is throwing more, landing more and his connect percentage is right in the middle of his two most recent wins.  Meanwhile, we’re telling this poor guy that he looked like s__t and it’s time to hit the golf course. Why? In his second fight against Bradley, the former eight-weight world champion apparently landed 198 of 563. That was “five” years ago, and those stats almost mirror what he accomplished against Horn. So, did Pacquiao do really well, or are CompuBox statistics woozy here? It’s one or the other.



CompuBox cannot score everything

Every fight is different but your paramount criteria for scoring should always be clean effective punching. Pretty obvious. However, when you have a mauling, messy fight, like Pacquiao-Horn was, you need to look elsewhere and I default to ring generalship. In the early rounds; Horn’s lateral movement, broken rhythm, feints and angles were giving Pacquiao fits. Horn was controlling distance and I personally felt he was more effective in the first half. Pacquiao was at his best at long range but he got nothing done up-close. Horn punched with his free hand in clinches. Pacquiao didn’t. Horn went to the body. Pacquiao didn’t. Horn belabored his opponent against the ropes. Pacquiao didn’t. Did CompuBox credit Horn for roughing Pacquiao up and making a strong physical impression? You decide. And if you want to bitch that Horn was dirty, then go out and get some gardening done because boxing isn’t for you. This is full contact combat and you do what you have to do to win. The referee polices a fight, not a judge. You don’t penalize Horn because you think poor Manny is having a hard time. If we adopted that policy, Ricky Hatton would never have won a fight.

CompuBox: The Future

CompuBox will always be there but it’s of token value. Is it a coincidence that this type of statistical scoring was removed from amateur boxing? There are times where it serves as a useful guide in the pros; like when a fight has plenty of clean contact and the punches are easy to see. That was not the case on Saturday and the system, for my money, failed miserably. The numbers were crazy. In six months’ time, Pacquiao will be back in action against Horn and CompuBox will be a redundant resource. Why? Because a fully focused Pacquiao is likely to be too much for the unbeaten Australian. Time will tell, but while I respect anyone who feels that Pacquiao deserved the nod this time, I will not condone CompuBox as a reason for justifying scoring in any way whatsoever.


Tom Gray and RING Magazine Editor Michael Rosenthal discuss Pacquiao vs. Horn:

Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for and a member of THE RING ratings panel.  Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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