Legendary Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao will lock horns with Brisbane's Jeff Horn on April 23 in what is being built up as the biggest fight in Australian boxing history, per several reports.
The official announcement for the blockbuster bout will be made during a press conference on Wednesday (1:30 PM AEST, 2:30 PM AEDT) at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane. According to The Courier Mail, the fight was confirmed after an overnight meeting Las Vegas between Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, and Dean Lonergan, the representative of Horn.
The report added that while Horn's preferred venue is the 50,000-seater Suncorp Stadium in hometown Brisbane, his agent is not ruling out other venues and would go to the arena that makes the "most commercial sense".
The fighters have already begun to take pot shots at each other. Pacquiao, who won his two fights in 2016 against Timothy Bradley (Apr. 9) and Jessie Vargas (Nov. 5), has warned the Australian that his "dream fight" would quickly turn into a nightmare. Horn, nicknamed the “Fighting Schoolteacher”, replied by suggesting that Pacquiao is the not the same boxer who dominated Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.
Manny Pacquiao next fight vs Jeff Horn: Australian begins as the underdog
While it is far to dub Horn as the underdog, the home atmosphere and Pacquiao's waning skills could work into the Australian's hands later this year. Horn was quick to remind the world that the 38-year-old Filipino hasn't scored a knockout victory since 2009 and has lost three of his last eight bouts.
“I’ve fought all over the world as an amateur and I’ve had a lot of fights against some top fighters as an amateur and pro. I’ve only had 17 fights and Pacquiao has had 67 but I think I’ve got the skills to win,’’ Horn said, while addressing the WBO welterweight champion who has won his last two bouts in Las Vegas.
“It’s my time. I’m getting Pacquiao at the right moment. I know I have the power to hurt him. If I land a clean shot on Pacquiao when he’s coming forward I know I could hurt him. That’s what I’m hoping for to catch him as he rushes in," said Horn, while revealing his early game plan to counter Pacquiao.
Meanwhile, Justin Fortune, who serves as Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, recently said that the veteran boxer hasn't lost a step since his now infamous defeat to Floyd Mayweather in 2015. “Manny is still extremely quick, ridiculously quick. And he’s still an extremely heavy puncher."
While the 28-year-old Aussie is unbeaten in 17 fights, Pacquiao (59-6-2) has suffered only six losses in his illustrious career that began in 1995.
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