The Filipino boxer faces unheralded Australian challenger Jeff Horn in tomorrow’s world welterweight title fight at Brisbane in pursuit of a dream rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
‘Short and sweet’
Pacquiao’s camp says they are anticipating a “short and sweet” win over the unbeaten Horn, a former schoolteacher and 2012 Australian Olympian, before an expected 50,000 crowd at Suncorp Stadium. The eight-weight champion, 38, is a favourite to improve on his career record of 59 wins, six losses and two draws at the expense of Horn (16-0-1).
It is revealing that the Pacquiao camp has already spoken of setting up another showdown with the unbeaten Mayweather, who outpointed “Pac-Man” in the “Fight of the Century” two years ago. “We’re chasing a rematch with Floyd Mayweather and we know he has to score a spectacular knockout win over Jeff Horn if that’s going to happen,” Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said.
Looking for a ‘big knockout’
Pacquiao (38 KOs) has not stopped an opponent since an 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto in 2009, and Roach said he wants Horn to be Pacquaio’s 39th victim. “I’m looking for a big win in Brisbane so we can go on to bigger and better things,” he said. “I’ve been looking for a big knockout from him for a long time now and I think you’re going to see it in this fight.”
First title defence
Pacquiao, also a senator in the Philippines, regained the WBO welterweight title belt he lost to Mayweather when he knocked Jessie Vargas down in the second round and cruised to a unanimous decision in November. He will be making his first defence against Horn after a big-money fight with British boxer Amir Khan in the UAE fell through this year.
Horn stands to make huge money – reported at seven figures, easily the biggest of his career – if he can inflict only Pacquiao’s seventh defeat inside the ring. “Even though Pacquiao is the smaller man he’s the biggest mountain I’ve had to climb,” Horn said.