ESPN to air Pacquiao title bout
Champion’s defense of his WBO belt July 1 in Australia marks return to live network TV.
Manny Pacquiao’s fight next month in Brisbane against 2012 Australian Olympian Jeff Horn will be televised by ESPN, and the network and Pacquiao’s promoter are expected to detail a more extensive relationship in the near future.
In the bout that will air in the United States on July 1 at 7 p.m. PDT, Pacquiao (596-2, 38 knockouts) will be fighting live on network television for the first time since 2005.
The seven-division world champion will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium with a crowd of 55,000 expected to see if Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) can produce a stunning upset.
The bout could move Pacquiao, who serves as a senator in the Philippines, closer to a date later in 2017 against unbeaten two-belt junior-welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
ESPN president John Skipper, in a prepared statement, said the bout is “a significant moment for ESPN and for boxing fans.”
The card includes a comain event featuring 2016 Irish Olympian Michael Conlan, and as Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has rounded up more young talent, including U.S. Olympian Shakur Stevenson, the ESPN relationship is expected to provide a more expansive showcase for talented fighters.
While HBO has withdrawn from non-pay-perview cards this year, Arum now has an alternative promising a wider audience for fighters such as his super-featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko and featherweight champion Oscar Valdez.
The ESPN broadcast team will feature Timothy Bradley, the Coachella Valley fighter who has met Pacquiao three times.
And ESPN Deportes’ coverage will include analysis by Juan Manuel Marquez, who has fought Pacquiao four times.