By Keith Idec
Jeff Horn could be the first of multiple lower-profile opponents for Manny Pacquiao this year.
Promoter Bob Arum has meetings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday with Horn’s promoters from Duco Events at Arum’s Top Rank Inc. offices in Las Vegas. They’re trying to arrange a Pacquiao-Horn welterweight title fight for April 23 in Brisbane, Australia.
That bout could draw a crowd in excess of 50,000 to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. If that event is as successful financially as Arum anticipates, he hopes to take Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) on a world tour of sorts later this year, which could conclude in November with a showdown with Terence Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs).
Boxing fans and media want to see a Pacquiao-Crawford fight next, but Arum and Pacquiao have discussed another plan that could begin with a WBO welterweight title defense against Australia’s Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs).
“What came up is this opportunity for Manny to fight in various places in the world,” Arum told BoxingScene.com. “Australia, England, the Mideast and Russia, even. I’ve been getting offers. So then I talked to Manny and we decided, ‘Let’s do a world tour like Ali.’ And as long as he’s performing OK, every couple months we’d fight in a different place. And that was very appealing [to Pacquiao].
“We have a letter from Russia, wanting Pacquiao to fight some guy who’s pretty good in Russia. Eddie Hearn has called me about fighting Kell Brook in England. And we have all these Mid-Eastern people sniffing around. But if we can make the Horn fight on terms acceptable to Manny, then that’s how we’ll go. And then if I can do that fight April 22 [the date the fight would air on television in the United States], then I can do a fight in July, maybe in Russia. And then September over in England. And then he can fight a big, big fight in the United States against Crawford.”
This obviously would be a very ambitious schedule for a 38-year-old boxer who has grown accustomed to competing a maximum of twice per year. Pacquiao’s time-consuming commitment to his job as a senator in the Philippines also could prevent this world tour from happening.
Nevertheless, Arum believes Pacquiao could meet the demands of that type of schedule because by boxing so frequently, he wouldn’t have time to get out of fighting shape and wouldn’t need long training camps to get sharp.
“If he keeps fighting regularly, every couple of months,” Arum said, “he’s not gonna have to devote as much time to a training camp.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.