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Manny Pacquiao vs Horn 2: Why Jeff will be better in rematch

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Amid the recent slew of boxing stars' retirements, including Wladimir Klitschko and Juan Manuel Marquez, one legend will remain in the fray awhile longer.

ESPN announced today Manny Pacquiao has confirmed he'll exercise his rematch clause with Jeff Horn, the Aussie who defeated him via a controversial points win last month.

"Manny doesn't want to retire. He wants the rematch, so we are going to do the rematch," Arum told ESPN. "Manny told me he wants to do the rematch but now we are looking for the window that satisfies the Senate. We need to see when they have a recess that will allow Manny the time he needs to train and have the fight."

Pacquiao vs Horn 2...  Now it's just a matter of when and where.

Despite the fact most observers believe Manny deserved the nod, PacMan looked to a far cry from the version Pacquiao we saw last fall. And while he deserved to win, he really didn't beat Jeff Horn.

So, what happened?

Is Manny over the hill?

Did he take Horn too lightly?

Was he too consumed with his senatorial duties to properly focus on his foe?

... Or is Jeff Horn a lot better than we thought?

Maybe we'll find out in the rematch and maybe we won't. Fighting on this level takes a lot of dedication and focus, and I choose to believe Senator Pacquiao was too immersed in politics to properly prepare for Horn, mentally and physically.

Regardless, one thing is certain: Manny should bring his A game because Horn will be a better fighter in the return match.

A better Horn
Boxing is very mental.

A massive underdog fighting on the big stage for the first time, Jeff Horn didn't know what to expect when he faced Manny last month. All fighters are confident to a degree and Jeff was probably no exception, but rest-assured he was probably a little scared too.

"Can I hang with this guy," he probably asked himself? 

Manny clearly had a psychological edge due to his experience and accomplishments. Moreover, unlike Pacquiao, Jeff had never walked out in front of 50,000 people before or fought in an atmosphere with as many TV cameras, not to mention the millions of viewers in the US. Australia and the Philippines.

Pacquiao vs Horn 2
Rematch News


Nerves can sap a fighter's energy in minutes, no matter how fit he is. But not only did Horn survive the first three rounds with Manny and hold his own, he went the distance - and won the fight according to the judges and his cornermen.

Now, in his heart, he believes he beat Manny once and is super confident can do it again. And to add more swagger to his step, Horn is now convinced Pacquiao can't finish him inside the distance because he survived the 9th Round onslaught.

"I think the first fight was an excellent fight," Arum told ESPN. It was competitive and [Horn] feels emboldened and I think it will be a very good fight again," Arum said. "And now Horn is known much more in the United States after that fight."

Keyword: Emboldened

Again, fighting is very mental.

Heading into the rematch, Horn is going to train with more confidence and intensity as he's convinced he's an elite fighter on the same level as a prime Pacquiao. Hence, he's even calling out Terence Crawford and Errol Spence these days.

Maybe Jeff will carry a false sense of security with him to the ring when he faces Pacquiao in the rematch but he'll be a better fighter regardless.

Iran Barkley TKO 3 Thomas Hearns... James Toney TKO 11 Michael Nunn... Frankie Randall MD 12 Julio Cesar Chavez... Sergio Martinez UD 12 Kelly Pavlik.... Glen Johnson KO 9 Roy Jones, Jr. And yes, Manny Pacquiao TKO 6 Lehlohonolo Ledwaba

Big underdogs who defeat world champions or high-profile opponents usually return better fighters. That doesn't mean Horn will become a star a la Pacquiao or Toney, but he will be better in the rematch.

Senator Pacquiao should prepare for an even better version of Jeff Horn.... But how will he do that while being a high-level public servant at the same time?


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