By Alex P. Vidal
FAIRFAX, Virginia -- The Aussie who has ax to grind for 17 years against Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) is also known as “Jeff” but he isn’t Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), WBO’s No. 1 welterweight contender, who will fight Pacquiao for WBO 147-lb crown in Brisbane, Australia on July 2.
Jeff Fenech, now 53, is a former undisputed world super bantamweight champion, who went wild in Manila on October 14, 2000 when his unbeaten ward, Nedal Hussein, lost a controversial 10th round TKO to Pacquiao for the WBC international super bantamweight title at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City, Philippines.
Fenech, who insisted until now that Hussein had been robbed, nearly attack famed referee Carlos Padilla, who stopped the fight due to Hussein's eye injury.
Fenech accused Padilla of administering a “long count” when Hussein knocked down Pacquiao in the fourth canto of the 12-round championship fight.
Padilla, third man in the ring during the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila”, was accused of allowing Pacquiao to clear the cobwebs with a slow count.
Fenech filed a protest but Pacquiao’s win had been upheld.
He was not impressed with Pacquiao’s talent. Fenech criticized the Filipino politician for his weak chin saying Hussein could have finished off Pacquiao in the fourth round had the fight was officiated by a neutral referee.
Fenech and Hussein had been asking for a rematch that never materialized until Hussein, now 41, decided to retire after losing to Takashi Uchiyama by knockout for Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super featherweight tiara in Tokyo on September 8, 2007.
Now that Pacquiao’s title defense will be held in their home court with an estimated paying fans of 55,000 or more, Fenech has advised Horn he can upset Pacquiao at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland Australia if he uses the right tactics.
Fenech recently told Grantlee Kieza of the Courier Mail: “Just bash the bloke in close. It’s no more Mister Nice Guy now. I’m not saying break the rules but you have to rough Manny up. Jeff, do everything to hurt him in close. Twist him, twist his knees, use your weight advantage, bully him--bang your shoulder into him. Manny can punch at a distance, Jeff. Close the distance. Stay on his chest and make him feel all of his 38 years.”
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, meanwhile, has praised Horn as a future major star saying he expects a viewing audience of 10 million on ESPN.
“If Jeff Horn, win or lose, performs as well as I think he will, he will end up to be a major star in the United States just because so many eyeballs have seen him,” Arum said on June 26 as he watched Horn train. “And I really believe that Jeff Horn will give an outstanding account of himself. This is a great, great, great opportunity. The fight will be shown free to the American public on ESPN, the largest sports network in the world. ESPN is going all out to promote the event. We’re looking forward to an audience as large as 10 million in the United States and maybe larger…. it will dwarf anything Manny Pacquiao has done in the United States in the 15 or 16 years that he’s been fighting.”