WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is very close to signing a contract for a July 2 title defense against 2012 unbeaten Australian Olympian Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), the Filipino world champion’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank said on Saturday.
“We’re very close,” Arum told The Star. “We have to get the contract signed. They’re reviewing the contract and hopefully it will be signed in the next hours or so. On the Australian side, everything is done. Jeff Horn has signed the contract.”
Arum had been originally quoted in international media saying the 38-year-old Filipino dubbed “Pac-Man” will get into the ring with Horn, 29, in April, possibly in Australia.
The Australian state of Queensland also offered to host the fight in Brisbane.
Pacquiao and former world champion Amir Khan had announced separately in February that they would fight on April 23, with a source from the Filipino’s camp saying the bout would be in the United Arab Emirates.
However, the Pacquiao-Khan fight bizarrely fell through, with Arum describing the reported $38 million UAE deal to BoxingScene.com last month as “pie in the sky”. Arum's company is likely going to handle the pay-per-view production on their own, as neither HBO or Showtime have much interest in that fight.
Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz confirmed the deal with Horn was very close.
“We are working out the details for the fight on July 2,” Koncz said
Koncz did not disclose the proposed Pacquiao-Horn prize money or the venue, stating to media outlets the fighters’ purse was “nobody’s business”. There have been unconfirmed reports which claim Pacquiao could get as much as $10 million for the fight.
Pacquiao is in the twilight of a glittering career that won him unprecedented world titles in eight weight divisions. He briefly retired last year as he won a seat in the Philippine senate, but made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas in November.