WBO world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is now contractually tied to fight undefeated Jeff Horn on his home turf in Australia, the Filipino star’s camp said Wednesday.
The announcement of the July bout ends months of speculation on who the 38-year-old Filipino dubbed “Pac-Man” would face next as he seeks to prolong a stellar career that saw him win world titles in eight different weight classes.
“We signed the Jeff Horn contract this morning. Fight is July 2 in Brisbane, Australia,” Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said.
Koncz said Pacquiao would be staking his World Boxing Organisation welterweight crown against Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), 29 years old, but he declined to say what the guaranteed purse would be.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank had been originally pushing for the Filipino to face Horn in Australia, but in a surprise development, Pacquiao and British boxer Amir Khan announced separately in February that they would fight on April 23.
But the deal spectacularly fell through with Arum describing the reported $38 million United Arab Emirates fight to the Los Angeles Times as “pie in the sky”.
After Horn, Koncz said he was still hoping to set up a Pacquiao fight with Khan in either the Middle East or the Philippines in October or November.
Pacquiao, who has been hailed as a virtual national hero in his home country, briefly retired early last year and then ran and won a seat in the Philippine senate.
But the retirement was short-lived as Pacquiao, who said he missed the ring, made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas in November.