Pac­quiao back in talks to fight un­beaten Horn

Filipino mulls op­tion af­ter Khan bout scrapped

Bangkok Post - - GENERAL -

>> MANILA: Box­ing leg­end Manny Pac­quiao is back in talks for a pos­si­ble fight with un­beaten Aus­tralian Jeff Horn, the Filipino world cham­pion’s ad­viser said Fri­day.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows the much-pub­li­cised col­lapse of a US$38 mil­lion bout be­tween Pac­quiao and Bri­tain’s Amir Khan, re­port­edly af­ter in­vestors in the United Arab Emi­rates failed to come up with the money.

“We are dis­cussing the mat­ter with [US pro­moter Bob] Arum,” Pac­quiao’s ad­viser Michael Koncz told AFP by text mes­sage, when asked if his boxer would sign a con­tract on Fri­day to fight Horn.

Top Rank Box­ing’s Arum told re­porters in New York in mid-March that he was wait­ing to hear back from Pac­quiao, 38, on whether he would take up the op­tion of fight­ing Horn, 29, af­ter the Khan bout fell through.

Me­dia re­ports sug­gested Arum had given Pac­quiao un­til this week to sign the con­tract, but Koncz de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

The Aus­tralian state of Queens­land had ear­lier of­fered to host a Pac­quiaoHorn fight in Bris­bane.

In Fe­bru­ary, Pac­quiao, a world ti­tle-win­ner in an un­prece­dented eight weight di­vi­sions and Khan, the reign­ing World Box­ing Or­ga­ni­za­tion wel­ter­weight cham­pion, both tweeted that they would fight on April 23.

How­ever, Arum told the Los An­ge­les Times on March 8 that the pro­posed fight in the UAE had proven to be “pie in the sky”.

“Manny wanted to roll the dice. He rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. If some­thing is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true,” Arum told the news­pa­per.

Pac­quiao, in the twi­light of a glit­ter­ing ca­reer, briefly re­tired last year but made a suc­cess­ful come­back against Jessie Var­gas in Las Ve­gas in Novem­ber.

Mean­while, Ja­pan’s Ko­sei Tanaka will de­fend his WBO light-fly­weight ti­tle for the first time when he takes on An­gel Acosta of Puerto Rico in May, his Hatanaka Box­ing Gym an­nounced.

The 21-year-old Tanaka will be putting his ti­tle on the line at Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya on May 20, when he faces no. 1 ranked chal­lenger Acosta. The 26-year-old is 16-0 with ev­ery fight de­cided by knock­out.

“Not only are his punches strong but he’s got solid coun­ters. He’s a boxer with all-around skills,” Tanaka said af­ter watch­ing him fight in an elim­i­na­tion bout in Puerto Rico last month.

“Ei­ther way it will come down to a KO. It will be that kind of match. He’s an op­po­nent I have to beat. I’ll beat him by floor­ing him,” he said.

Tanaka also has a per­fect record, with five of his eight wins by knock­out.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, Tony Bellew’s WBC cruis­er­weight cham­pion sta­tus has been changed as a re­sult of his move up to heavy­weight.

The 34-year-old made the jump up a weight class to face David Haye this month and shocked the box­ing world af­ter the Lon­doner’s cor­ner threw in the towel as he strug­gled with a rup­tured Achilles.

How­ever, Bellew has not fought at cruis­er­weight since last Oc­to­ber af­ter win­ning the ti­tle in May and be­cause he has not stated which weight class he will fight at, the WBC has changed him to the Emer­i­tus Cham­pion — mean­ing he can re­turn to cruis­er­weight to con­test the ti­tle at any time.

Con­se­quently, the fight tonight be­tween Mairis Briedis and Marco Huck will be for the ti­tle af­ter a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by the WBC’s board.

In a state­ment, the WBC said: “Tony Bellew has be­come a ma­jor at­trac­tion in the heavy­weight di­vi­sion and is at this mo­ment un­cer­tain of his next steps fol­low­ing his life chang­ing vic­tory.

“The Emer­i­tus Cham­pion des­ig­na­tion is a priv­i­lege, which has been suc­cess­fully used by some of the great cham­pi­ons of the his­tory of our or­gan­i­sa­tion in­clud­ing Vi­tali Kl­itschko, Floyd May­weather, Bernard Hop­kins, Erik Mo­rales and other greats.”

Manny Pac­quiao holds his wel­ter­weight ti­tle belt af­ter de­feat­ing Mex­i­can boxer Jessie Var­gas.

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