By Edward Chaykovsky
Top Rank's Bob Arum is very excited about the potential fight between WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and undefeated contender Jeff Horn of Australia.
Arum is planning to stage the fight, if a deal can get done, at Suncorp Stadium on April 23 [April 22 in America] in Brisbane. There is no confirmation if a major U.S. network will pick up this fight, but it's likely it will end up on a Top Rank Pay-Per-View. Top Rank produced Pacquiao's November pay-per-view with Jessie Vargas after HBO passed on the fight.
Last month in Auckland, Arum sat ringside and watched Horn score a knockout over former champion Ali Funeka. Arum then signed up Horn to a co-promotional deal with Duco Events.
Arum has spoken to Pacquiao and discussed the possibility of fighting Horn. He says Pacquiao was excited by the fight and called it a “good challenge.’’
“Manny has seen some of Jeff Horn’s previous fights, we’ve shown him tapes,’’ said Arum to The Sunday Mail. “Manny thinks Jeff is a very live fighter — in the sense he’s a come-ahead guy and he says it will be a tremendous fight and a good challenge for him. Manny is on board for this fight.’’
“We are very excited about this fight. Jeff Horn is the kind of young man who really enhances any sport. He’s well spoken, looks good, comes from a good family and being a former schoolteacher is a well-educated young man. He’s a real asset to the sport and a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn is something that is great for boxing.
“Jeff is a very good fighter — I don’t know if he beats Manny Pacquiao but he’ll give him a tremendous fight.’’
Horn’s co-promoter Dean Lonergan of Duco will meet with Arum in Los Angeles on Tuesday. They hope to finalize a deal by the end of next week.
Arum told the paper that his “goal’’ is to “make this fight with Jeff Horn in Australia” and also said there was a “tremendous chance’’ the contest will take place in Brisbane. The 85-year-old promoter is very, very excited about doing this fight.
“I’ve cleared it with Manny and I’ve cleared it with his people. He’s all set and ready to go if they can raise the money in Australia,’’ Arum said. “Manny would love the opportunity to fight in Australia. A lot of people from the Philippines would come over to watch and a lot of Filipinos in Australia would be at the stadium.
“Manny has been based in the United States for many years but wants to fight in different places in the world now and this could be one of the greatest sporting events ever staged in Australia. I can’t wait — it really is terrific. Australia has great, great fight fans and we can tell by the sales of Manny’s televised fights over the years that the Australian fans have backed Manny throughout his career.’’