By Keith Idec
Promoter Bob Arum has, as expected, come to an agreement with Jeff Horn’s representatives for the Australian contender to challenge Manny Pacquiao on April 22.
Arum told ESPN.com on Tuesday night that an agreement is in place for Pacquiao to defend his WBO welterweight title against Horn. The site for the fight is not set, nor is the television network that’ll broadcast it in the United States.
Horn’s promoters at Australia-based Duco Events spent Monday and Tuesday meeting with Arum at Top Rank Inc.’s headquarters in Las Vegas.
Horn is mostly unknown to American boxing fans, but he became the front-runner to oppose Pacquiao in recent weeks, once it became clear that a Pacquiao-Terence Crawford fight wouldn’t take place next. Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser, told The Manila Bulletin last week that Pacquiao would require a $20 million guarantee to face Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs), the WBC/WBO super lightweight champion.
According to Arum, the preferred venue for Pacquiao-Horn is Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. That venue could accommodate more than 50,000 fans for boxing and Pacquiao-Horn would be an enormous event in Horn’s homeland.
Koncz, however, has been exploring bringing Pacquiao’s next fight to Dubai, thus an undisclosed site in the United Arab Emirates’ biggest city remains under consideration.
The 28-year-old Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), who’s 10 years younger than Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), is the No. 2-ranked contender for the Filipino superstar’s WBO 147-pound championship.
Arum told BoxingScene.com on Saturday that he would prefer to keep Pacquiao-Horn away from pay-per-view. He is expected to shop television rights to the fight to premium cable networks, basic cable networks and free networks.
“Our preference is to have it free for customers in the United States,” Arum said. “But if that’s not possible, if nobody will step up to the plate and do it – it’s not only HBO – then what we do is maybe put on some of our fighters from the United States and do a split-site type of event and put it on pay-per-view.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.