All of a sudden, boxing is catching up with other sports in terms of interest in the land Down Under.
These days, it’s just as hot as summer.
Known for its passion for footy, rugby and cricket, boxing is like third rate when it comes to drawing the interest of Aussie sports fans.
It has changed lately, and what a perfect time it is for promoter Bob Arum to bring his boxing promotions to a country whose most notable contributions to boxing are Jeff Fenech, Kostya Tszyu, and half Aussie Vic Darchinyan.
The sports world here is ‘intrigued’ with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao’s much-awaited fight against Brisbane’s former Olympian Jeff Horn on April 23 in Brisbane, although the fight has not been signed by the fighting senator from the Philippines.
The fight is seen by many as a win-win situation for most parties. For Australia, the superfight will be the biggest yet and one that could put the country in the boxing map of venues for many upcoming promotions.
For Horn, it is the biggest fight of his young career, one that could bring in some fortune and a lot of global attention, win or lose.
For Pacquiao, the fight could boost his bid for another megafight with Floyd Mayweather before he finally walks into the sunset.
For Queensland, it could mean $200 million in revenue.
Before that fight happens, boxing will see a rematch of Australia’s fiercest ring rivals. Danny Green and Anthony Mundine clash at the Adelaide Oval on February 3 in a rematch that has created heaps of airtime on a week that is dominated by tennis news from the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Green, who held the WBA light-heavyweight title from 2007 to 2008, the IBO cruiserweight title twice, from 2009 to 2013, and the WBC interim super middleweight title from 2003 to 2005, is a fan favourite.
On the other hand, Mundine is Australia’s two-time WBA super-middleweight who held the title from 2003 to 2004 and 2007 to 2008. He was also the IBO middleweight title-holder from 2009 to 2010, and the WBA interim super-welterweight title-holder from 2011 to 2012.
Before moving to boxing, Mundine was the highest paid player in the NRL.
The Mundine-Green fight has by far sold some 40,000 tickets and the pay per view price is set at a prohibitive $59.99, the same as the Mayweather-Pacquiao megafight.
Most pubs across Australia will be showing the fight.
If the Mundine-Greene fight could pack the crowd in, imagine how much crowd the Pacman versus Hornet fight would attract at the Suncorp Stadium if the bout ever happens there.
The Pacquiao-Horn fight looms as Australia’s biggest boxing bonanza ever. The fight contract, however, has not yet been signed by Pacquiao.
There is speculation in boxing circles that Pacquiao will just be using the Horn fight to boost the demand for another megafight with Floyd Mayweather to close out his career.
He is expected to breeze through the Brisbane-based former Olympian and PE teacher.