“It’s hard to be disappointed when what you expected turns out to be true.”
-- Jay Asher, “Thirteen Reasons Why” (2007 book)
THERE were reasons ranging from the ridiculous (detained senator Leila de Lima rigged it with her alleged drug loot) to the divine (God willed it). Those are not in this list.
Instead, I picked from the cacophony of voices that boxing experts and non-pundits produced, here and elsewhere, following the “slightly controversial” verdict in last Sunday’s fight between Australian Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane.
Feel free to punch any of them until it sags and falls. Here they are:
 Pacquiao had little support from his religious belief. He started under-performing as a boxer this theory says, since he left the mainstream Catholic Church and joined another group of believers. (He still worships the same God, doesn’t he?)
 Horn had a 10-point plan drawn up by his trainer while Freddie Roach offered only a Plan B. (The great Roach idea? Roach said he’d ask Manny to retire if he’d lose to Horn.)
 Most Filipinos had not cheered for their champ, not as lustily as they had done in previous ring battles. (A recognition that his star was fading. Plus his dabbling in politics without giving up boxing-for-money, which turned off many people.)
 Pacquiao was, according to Brian Mazique of Forbes.com, “disconnected, preoccupied and less than motivated.” He must have been torn between his boxing career and his sideline in politics.
 Horn, in contrast, was hungry and knew that he had all to gain if he scored a major upset. He was unknown outside the hardcore boxing community and a win would change all that.
 Money was a motive for Pacquiao ($10 million) but mostly to agree to the fight, not to win it. While Horn’s motive was less for money (only $500,000) than for what he’d be become by winning. Horn in effect was much hungrier.
 Pacquiao had “massive edge in experience”: 50 more fights and 349 more rounds than Horn had. But that also gave Manny a disadvantage: some kind of arrogance.
 Manny under-estimated Horn, thinking he’d be no formidable foe. Pacquiao was even criticized for choosing an unknown fighter, a “safe” opponent. At a pre-fight press-con, one sportswriter noted that Manny “could barely contain his laughter” during the stare-down.
 While some experts cautioned Manny against over-confidence, most other people inflated it, as seen in the betting odds, which reflected their assessment of the fighters: minus-1,000 favorite, Pacquiao; plus-650 for the underdog, Horn.
 Horn is younger by nine years and, presumably, stronger and more physically fit than Pacquiao. While the length of Manny’s experience gives a big advantage, the downside is that it has also battered and weakened him. Think of the blows and punches inflicted on his body through the years.
 It was a hometown crowd for Horn. The cheers matter in most sports: they fuel the player, rev up the will to fight.
 Pacquiao, in contrast, was on faraway and strange land where the “hostiles” are the rival on the ring and almost all the people around it.
 Manny caught a cold when he stepped on Aussie ground? That and similar excuses are not acceptable. Horn beat him, period. Pinoys like singer-composer Jim Paredes who were not disappointed somehow expected it.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2017.
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