Monday, March 27, 2023  |


Pacquiao vs. Horn is officially announced for July 1 in U.S.

Photo by: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Manny Pacquiao’s bout with Jeff Horn on July 1 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia was officially announced on Monday, ending a lengthy and at times difficult process to finalize Pacquiao’s next opponent.

Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) decided to defend his WBO welterweight title against Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) only after a preferred bout with Amir Khan in the United Arab Emirates fell through because of a lack of funding. In Australia’s Horn, he’s facing a little-known challenger who has fought all of his bouts on home soil or in New Zealand, is a near-mystery to U.S. fans and has never fought anyone remotely on the level as the eight-division champion Pacquiao, who is now 38 and is no longer in his prime. He’s ranked No. 4 by the RING at welterweight.

The U.S. television rights are still up in the air for the bout and promoter Bob Arum intends to talk to HBO about buying the fight. The matchup is expected to do big business in Australia, drawing around 55,000 to the stadium and record numbers on Australian PPV. Arum is selling the fight as a sort of sendoff, world-tour for Pacquiao, who once took on all comers but now seems to be carefully scripting the twilight of his career.

“Manny has been a pioneer, bringing world title fights to Cowboys Stadium, The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena and now Suncorp Stadium,” Arum said in a press release. “We’re boxing’s version of Lewis & Clark, discovering new markets. Manny knows who will be the crowd favorite on July 1, but he can’t wait to give Australia and the world a great performance. It’s going to be unbelievable event.”

While Horn’s story is appealing — he’s a former school teacher and Olympian — fans would have rather seen Pacquiao test his still impressive skills against other top welterweights, such as unified champion Keith Thurman or former titleholder Danny Garcia or even Adrien Broner. All of the aforementioned are handled by Al Haymon, a rival of Arum’s so making those fights would not be easy. Then there’s two-belt 140-pound champion Terence Crawford, who is promoted by Arum and has been salivating for the right to face Pacquiao, though Pacquiao’s team seems to have little appetite in that matchup.