Pacquiao back in talks to fight unbeaten Horn
Filipino mulls option after Khan bout scrapped
>> 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.