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Jeff Horn feels ‘relief’

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jeff Horn already felt confident he had won his bout with Manny Pacquiao, no matter what Filipino government officials or US television commentators thought.

When an independent review this week affirmed the three ringside judges’ decision, the new WBO welterweight champion took the news as yet another victory.

“I feel like I’ve defended the title again already, and I’ve only had it for a week,” Horn said after arriving in California from his native Australia.

After claiming Pacquiao’s 147-pound title July 2 in a stunning upset, Horn would welcome the chance to leave no doubt in anybody’s mind in a second bout with Pacquiao.

“I kind of feel it’s been put to bed now that I definitely won the fight, because they re-scored it,” Horn said. “But people are always going to have their opinions, and you’re never going to change some of those. I guess the only way to do it is to do it again, to have a rematch, and I think I would do even better the second time.”

While Horn and many of the 51,000 fans in Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium agreed with the three ringside judges’ verdict, Pacquiao was seen as the winner by everyone from ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas to a department of the Philippines government, which requested the WBO’s official review of the scores.

Three of the five independent judges awarded the fight to Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs), and an aggregation of those judges’ scores also favored the new champ.

“I felt like I had won, so if it had come back with (the independent judges) saying I hadn’t, I would have still felt like I did anyway,’’ Horn said Tuesday over lunch in downtown Los Angeles, where he is attending ESPN’s sports awards show on Wednesday. “But to have them say that everyone else that studied it (felt) I had definitely won the fight gives me another sense of relief.’’

Horn, whose fight injuries already have healed nicely, pressured Pacquiao (59-7-2) for 12 rounds and forced the eight-division champion to back up. While Pacquiao landed plenty of shots, Horn credits his persistence for the result – along with his resilience after he was rocked in the ninth round.

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