In April, Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is expected to fight Jeff Horn, a former Brisbane-based PE teacher, in sunny Queensland.
During Pacquiao’s unofficial retirement tour over the past year, promoter Bob Arum has been attempting to rebuild the 38-year-old for a lucrative rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr
The Hall of Fame-inducted carnival barker, whose resume includes 26 Muhammad Ali bouts, has arranged two high-profile matches for his pay-per-view poster boy since the disastrous loss to Mayweather – a trilogy fight against Timothy Bradley and a WBO title bout against Jessie Vargas – two opponents he defeated with little resistance.
Since then, there have been rumblings about future opponents for the Filipino Senator. Terence Crawford has built the strongest case for a date with the 67-bout veteran, but it’s the worst kept secret in boxing that Team Pacquiao wants no part of that match-up.
“There’ll be no Pacquiao-Crawford fight in the first six months of the year definitely,” Arum told The Manila Times.
“Only if the fight will be in the United States but we’re not planning the next fight in the United States so we’re also not planning on Crawford now.”
The unbeaten 29-year-old is an incredibly dangerous opponent for Pacquiao and would jeopardise the plans for a second multi-multi-million dollar bout against Mayweather.
Moreover, Crawford isn’t a box office attraction anywhere near the level of Pacquiao. In his only effort on pay-per-view fight against Viktor Postol, the fight sold a paltry 50-60,000 units.
Instead of biting on the high risk, low reward fight, Pacquiao is taking on Horn – a fighter with even less of a profile internationally than Crawford.
The fight, which is expected to be finalised to take place at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on April 23 as early as this week, represents the opportunity of a lifetime for Horn – to fight a true icon of boxing in his own backyard.
So, can ‘The Hornet’ sting ‘Pac-Man’? I doubt it.
Horn is basically just another warm body for the former eight-division world champ to beat up on. The ‘fighting school teacher’ is exciting, but flawed – the perfect type of opponent for Pacquiao to exploit over 12 rounds.
In his last fight, a cruisy win over Vargas, Pacquiao captured the WBO welterweight title and showed that his speed, power, and technical prowess is still too much for anyone outside of boxing’s elite.
Granted, Horn is taking on Pacquiao in his waning years as a fighter – not the destroyer that iced Ricky Hatton, Erik Morales, and Miguel Cotto – but the ‘fighting school teacher’ has plain and simply never faced anyone on Pacquiao’s level. Not even close.
Horn’s team has done their part to allow the promising fighter to mature as a boxer, giving him increasingly harder tests along the way, but the 28-year-old needs more seasoning before he can slay the Filipino dragon.
It’s the biggest fight of Horn’s life, and one of the biggest boxing matches to ever take place on Australian soil. If this were a movie, a battered-and-bruised Horn would come from behind to flatline the multi-weight champion.
But this isn’t a movie. This is real life. And in real life, Horn will be lucky to steal two rounds from ‘Pac-Man’.