Jeff Horn would love to talk to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Teddy Atlas, the ESPN personalities who slammed the decision to crown him WBO welterweight champion after his bout with Manny Pacquiao in the Battle of Brisbane on Sunday.
Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan said that “we’d have a chat to Stephen A. Smith” after Top Rank supremo Bob Arum suggested the Australian boxer should be introduced formally to the U.S. boxing scene at the ESPYS, to be hosted by Peyton Manning, in Los Angeles on July 12.
ESPN presenter Stephen A. Smith was among the more voracious critics of the decision to crown Horn world champion, while commentator Teddy Atlas suggested the Australian was handed the victory as a reward for merely “trying hard”.
Smith said that Pacquiao was “robbed” by judges Waleksa Roldan, Chris Flores and Ramon Cerdan, who scored the fight 117-111, 115-113, 115-113 respectively in favour of Horn.
“It was a bogus decision,” Smith said.
“It’s stuff like this that hurts the sport of boxing … it’s a horrible decision.”
The Philippines Government’s Games and Amusements Board, meanwhile, has written to the WBO to seek a thorough review of the fight and possible sanctions against the referee and judges if warranted, but the officials stopped short of asking for the result to be overturned.
Lonergan said that Smith “was pretty vocal with what he had to say but I’m sure maybe [Horn’s] promoter will be just as vocal as Stephen A back”.
“We’d have to talk to Jeff about that and see if he wanted to go. I’m sure he would.
“Jeff Horn’s life’s changed now. He’s on a whole different planet when it comes to his fame and boxing future. Things like the ESPYS, they’ve been talked about already. Bob said that would be a great idea. How cool is that?”
Horn said that he was not bothered by the controversy, but he noted that Atlas had tried to “ruin the moment” by telling him on live television after the bout that he thought the Australian should have lost.
“It would have been good for him to say it another time,” Horn said.
“Say what you want, Teddy Everyone has a right to their opinion. The timing of their opinions can be a bit off sometimes.
“I’m sure I’ve [gained] a lot more fans over there than I’ve lost.”