NEDAL ‘Skinny’ Hussein knows a thing or two about Manny Pacquiao and when he has something to say about the man, people generally listen.
Hussein’s time as a top contender was an exciting one. He faced off with many great fighters during his career but it was his controversial loss to Manny Pacquiao in October of 2000 that most remember best.
The controversy began in the fourth round when Hussein, who was 19-0 at the time, dropped Pacquiao with a piston-like hard left. Manny was clearly dazed, his eyes portraying a vacant blank stare and many questioned whether he could climb off the canvas in time. That’s when referee Carlos Padilla seemingly delayed his count in what looked to be a deliberate act to give the home fighter more time. To add insult to injury, Padilla docked Skinny a point for an apparent elbow in the fourth and stopped the fight on a questionable cut to the cheek of Hussein in the tenth round. The rest as they say is history.
Seventeen years after Hussein’s contentious battle with a young Pacquiao, an older and bigger Manny is set to do battle with another Aussie in Jeff Horn. Unfortunately for Horn though, Hussein is doubtful that the he has enough experience to beat the boxing legend.
“If I were Manny and I’m watching Horn, I wouldn’t feel threatened at all,” stated Hussein.
“The guy’s only had seventeen fights, he’s been down a few times. Randall Bailey was a decent puncher but he’s well past it and a bit over the weight limit he was champion at. Horn hasn’t seen anything like Pacquiao before.”
Horn’s lack of experience isn’t the only thing that Hussein sees as a problem for the former schoolteacher. Stylistically, he feels Pacquiao’s rapid-fire approach might be too much for Horn.
“I don’t think he can match Manny with speed,” Hussein says.
“He’s going to have to engage at some time and Manny strengths are that he’s relentless and he’s awkward. I don’t like Horn’s chances to be completely honest.”
Three-time world champion Jeff Fenech recently came out in the press saying he believes Horn needs to ‘bash’ Pacquiao; a sentiment that Hussein agrees with, but he also believes Horn isn’t that kind of fighter.
“You’ve got to bully Manny, you cant let Manny take the reins because he will pick you apart,” says Hussein.
“I agree with Jeff, I spoke to Jeff the other day he reckons he’s got to sit on Pacquiao’s chest and pressure him but that’s not Horn’s style. Horn likes to be long and use his range so I don’t think that strategy will work for Horn to be honest, it’s not natural for him.”
Regardless of his views on the outcome of the fight, Hussein sees this fight as a victory for the sport of boxing in this country.
“To have Manny come out here is never a loss,” Hussein said. “Like when Roy Jones Jr. came out here and Shane Mosley came out here, its good for Australian boxing.”
Many in the boxing game may feel that Horn winning this fight is a stretch but regardless of the outcome, Hussein is right, this is a win for boxing in this country. We should all enjoy the show.
Words: Dan Attias/Follow Dan on Twitter