Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn confirmed for July 2
MANILA, Philippines — After months of start-and-stop negotiations, organizers of the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn finally announced on Sunday that it is official.
The fight, for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title, will take place on July 2 at the Suncorp Stadium in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia, making it the sixth country Pacquiao has fought in since turning professional in 1995.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) signed his contract on Wednesday but promoter Duco Events withheld the announcement until all sides had signed off on the fight, including the Queensland government, which is backing the the event.
“After months of speculation, I am pleased to say we’re finally all in the ring for this fight to go ahead,” said Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, according to Agence France-Presse.
Duco Events, the New Zealand-based company that will promote the show, said in a statement that it’s a “rare opportunity” and a “once in a lifetime event” to promote the fight outside of the United States or Europe.
An email to Duco requesting a copy of the full statement was not immediately returned.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz tells RingTV.com that Pacquiao, a first-term senator in the Philippines, will begin training for the fight the first week of May. He repeated Pacquiao’s wish that the fight be shown on “free TV” in the United States. If he gets his wish, it’d be the first time in 12 years that a Pacquiao fight was not shown on pay-per-view, since his 2005 fight against Hector Velazquez.
Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao and co-promotes Horn, had suggested to the Los Angeles Times that the fight could be aired on a self-produced pay-per-view, similar to Pacquiao’s fight against Jessie Vargas last November.
Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) will be Pacquiao’s first opponent since his 2007 fight against Jorge Solis who is not a current or former world champion. Horn fought in the 2012 Olympics.
Horn’s manager/trainer Glenn Rushton told RingTV.com last week that Horn was already in light training but would “soon increase the level of training.”
The fight had been penciled in for April 23 before Pacquiao’s team began chasing a fight against former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan in the United Arab Emirates.
Pacquiao’s team returned to the Horn fight after a reported $38 million being offered by investors did not materialize, and Pacquiao was told by Arum that he could either agree to fight Horn in July or sit out until November.
Horn, who is 9 years younger than Pacquiao at 29, is rated No. 2 by the WBO and IBF but doesn’t have a resume comparable to other top 147-pounders and has not fought outside of Oceania. He is not rated by THE RING.
His most recognizable opponents to date have been former titleholder Randall Bailey (TKO 7), as well as title challengers Ali Funeka (TKO 6) and Naoufel Ben Rabeh (UD 6).
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.