Pac­quiao to fight un­de­feated Horn

Pac­quiao sets date with un­de­feated Aus­tralian; still no venue for wel­ter­weight cham­pi­onship bout

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - FRONT PAGE - —STORY BY ROY LUARCA

The stage is set for Manny Pac­quiao’s de­fense of his World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion wel­ter­weight crown against un­beaten Aus­tralian Jeff Horn on April 23. Whether the fight will be held in Aus­tralia, the United Arab Emi­rates, or the United States has yet to be de­cided. Bob Arum, who pro­motes Pac­quiao, for­mally an­nounced the choice of Horn on Tues­day.

His dream fight with Manny Pac­quiao a done deal, Jeff Horn’s con­cern now is to have it held in his home­town of Bris­bane, Aus­tralia, par­tic­u­larly at the 52,500-seat Sun­corp Sta­dium.

The World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion wel­ter­weight ti­tle bout on April 23 was agreed upon in Las Ve­gas Tues­day night fol­low­ing talks be­tween Bob Arum, Pac­quiao’s pro­moter, and Dean Lon­er­gan, Horn’s han­dler.

The venue, how­ever, has yet to be de­cided as other pro­mot­ers from the United Arab Emi­rates, no­tably from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have ex­pressed in­ter­est to stage Pac­quiao’s next fight, ac­cord­ing to his ad­viser Mike Koncz.

While Horn an­nounced his pref­er­ence for Sun­corp Sta­dium in a press con­fer­ence in Bris­bane yes­ter­day, Lon­er­gan, speak­ing from Las Ve­gas, told couri­er­mail.com.au that the 12round bout would go to wher­ever it made “the most com­mer­cial sense.”

To pre­vent Pac­quiao-Horn from go­ing off­shore, the same re­port said Lon­er­gan in­tends to meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from State Gov­ern­ments from Queens­land, New South Wales, Vic­to­ria and South Aus­tralia to find the most log­i­cal venue.

Among those ex­pected to bid is Mel­bourne’s Eti­had Sta­dium which seats 56,000.

Ac­cord­ing to Glenn Rush­ton, Horn’s trainer, a Pac­quiao fight in Aus­tralia would be a unique event and it would be a “tragedy” to see it go to a sta­dium in the UAE.

Koncz told the In­quirer yes­ter­day that the choice of venue re­mains open and stressed that he’d find the best deal for Pac­quiao.

“We won’t set­tle for peanuts,” said Koncz, not­ing that the main rea­son why Pac­quiao keeps on fight­ing is “to give glory to his coun­try and peo­ple and en­ter­tain fight fans.”

Arum told AP that the fight would be beamed to 159 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US, where it will be shown Satur­day night.

“I would ex­pect 3,000 to 4,000 Filipinos to fly from the Philip­pines for this fight Down Un­der,” Arum said. “It will be the big­gest fight in Aus­tralian his­tory but, un­til the money is se­cured, we have to keep our op­tions open, in­clud­ing look­ing at the Mid­dle East and USA.”

Though un­beaten (16-0-1 with 11 knock­outs, the 28-yearold Horn is re­garded as a mas­sive un­der­dog against Pac­quiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), who is 10 years older.

The 5-foot-9 Horn, a for­mer school­teacher, how­ever, is un­fazed.

“It’s my time, I’m get­ting Pac­quiao at the right mo­ment,” said Horn, not­ing that Pac­quiao slipped “10 per­cent” from the first time he saw him fight Os­car De La Hoya in 2008.

Arum is set to fly to the Philip­pines soon to meet with Pac­quiao, who’s still in the Cay­man Is­lands, and fi­nal­ize the fight with Horn.

Ac­cord­ing to Aquilles Zo­nio, me­dia re­la­tions chief of Pac­quiao, the Fight­ing Sen­a­tor called him yes­ter­day and dis­closed that he and Arum have yet to dis­cuss the de­tails of the fight with Horn.

We won’t set­tle for peanuts Mike Koncz Pac­quiao ad­viser

—AFP

Manny Pac­quiao could be fight­ing for the first time in Aus­tralia, where he will try to de­fend his ti­tle against lo­cal Jeff Horn.

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