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Jeff Horn: People still tell me I didn't beat Manny Pacquiao

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Horn: I can be world champion again (1:47)

Almost a year since Jeff Horn's reign as WBO welterweight champion came to a crashing end, the Australian boxer is eyeing a return to the top. (1:47)

BRISBANE, Australia -- It might be almost two years on, but Australian boxer Jeff Horn says he still has to deal with people telling him he should not have won his world championship fight against Manny Pacquiao.

Horn (19-1-1, 13 KOs), 31, rose to prominence in July of 2017 after scoring a highly-controversial unanimous points decision over the future Hall of Famer at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, a win that saw him take hold of the WBO championship belt in the welterweight division.

At the time there were plenty who disagreed with the verdict, as many formed the belief Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs) had done enough -- particularly after a brutal ninth round which almost ended in stoppage -- to earn victory. Among those who were skeptical of the decision was ESPN boxing expert Dan Rafael who had scored the fight 117-111 in favour of Pacquiao.

A re-score of the fight in the following days still had Horn on top but did little to change opinions around the world, something he has dealt with for almost 24 months.

"I still hear the negative words from people saying I didn't win the fight and that it was dodgy scoring," Horn told ESPN on the eve of the fight's two-year anniversary. "Any other fights which have had ordinary judging lately, they always reflect on my fight and say how bad that was.

"A lot of people like listening to all of the commentary and things like that. I think that's what stirred a lot of people's opinions of [the fight]."

When asked whether or not the criticism surrounding his greatest achievement is frustrating, Horn said: "No, not really."

"I've gotten over the trolls online who like to keep picking and picking and saying that I didn't win."

Horn remains adamant the correct verdict was handed down by judges Chris Flores, Ramon Cerdan and Waleska Roldan, insisting he was the clear winner of the bout and not the beneficiary of a hometown decision.

The former school teacher says he even approached Pacquiao for a re-match in order to prove his first win was no fluke, but the Filipino legend knocked him back.

"I definitely won that fight. I know I did," Horn told ESPN. "[My team] was happy to take the re-match and prove it once again. That's the reason I would want to do it again or else why would I do it again? I wouldn't want to lose against him.

"[Pacquiao] doesn't want to do it again. He knows how hard it's going to be the second time, so he wants nothing to do with it."

At this stage, Horn does not have a fight slated for 2019 after pulling out of his bout with Japanese middleweight Ryota Murata for family reasons. However, Horn did express interest in a potential match-up with either Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez or Kazakhstan's Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin.