Ex-Manny foe awaits Jeff Horn rematch

By Joaquin Henson

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Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. AFP/File

MANILA, Philippines - Nedal Hussein, the Australian who nearly knocked out Manny Pacquiao in 2000, said the other day there will be a rematch with Jeff Horn “for sure” but advised the fighting senator to retire after facing the newly-crowned WBO welterweight champion in a bid to regain the throne.

Hussein, 39, battled Pacquiao at the Ynares Center in Antipolo 17 years ago and came close to scoring a stoppage in the fourth round. Pacquiao went down hard from a left straight but recovered to halt Hussein when referee Sonny Padilla ruled the visitor unfit to continue because of a cut on his cheek in the 10th. Hussein’s cornerman and legendary Australian champion Jeff Fenech raised a howl to protest Padilla’s decision but nobody listened. Pacquiao was ahead on the three judges scorecards, including Australian Garry Dean’s, at the time of the stoppage.

Hussein said he scored the Pacquiao-Horn fight a draw, 114-114. “I had Horn winning seven rounds with Pacquiao five and the ninth was 10-8,” said Hussein. If you assign points to score Hussein’s breakdown, it would be 114-113 for Horn. Hussein probably meant it could’ve gone either way. Before the fight, Hussein advised Horn to bully Pacquiao and brawl. Horn heeded his advice. He also told Horn to be patient. “Pacquiao likes to bring fighters onto his shots,” said Hussein, quoted in the Australian magazine Inside Sport. “He likes to pick them off, he likes to hit them as they come in. I think patience is the key.”

Hussein said Horn “fought a good fight” in an e-mail to The Star. “The referee (Mark Nelson) let him off a lot and could have warned him more,” he said. “There’s a rematch for sure. I think Pacquiao should retire after the rematch. I watched the fight (on TV) at home and the rematch as well, hopefully.”

Hussein said the Pacquiao-Horn fight was “very good for Australian boxing” but “I can’t put Horn on the level of other Aussie greats” – at least, not yet. Hussein said he’ll never forget his encounter with Pacquiao. “Yah, I haven’t forgotten the Pacquiao fight,” he said. “The ref wasn’t fair in that fight. I was in Las Vegas in 2005 for Pacquiao’s fight against (Erik) Morales. I saw him there. He’s a very nice guy.” Hussein said when they clashed in Antipolo, he already knew Pacquiao was headed for greatness. “I knew he was going to be a world champ again,” said Hussein. “But just not a superstar and a future Hall of Famer.”

Hussein said Pacquiao’s inability to score a knockout since 2009 is because he’s taken on bigger opponents. “As he’s gone up in weight, Pacquiao’s power is not there,” he said. “At featherweight and lightweight, he was knocking people out cold – Ricky Hatton, David Diaz, Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.”

Reviewing his pro career, Hussein said his most memorable win was beating Brian Carr for the Commonwealth superbantamweight crown in Scotland in 2000. He singled out Mexico’s Oscar Larios as the opponent he respects the most. In 2004, Larios decisioned Hussein in a WBC superbantamweight title bout. Hussein retired from the ring in 2007 with a 43-5 record, including 27 KOs. 

Today, Hussein is a successful car salesman. He’s been married 16 years with three children. “I’ve had a car yard (Knockout Motors) since 2009 in Lansvale (a Sydney suburb) and it’s been doing good,” he said. “I’ve just opened up a boxing gym doing fitness classes but no fighters.”

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