Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao celebrates his victory over WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas following their title fight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., November 5, 2016. Reuters / Steve Marcus

Manny Pacquiao, the reigning WBO welterweight champion, plans to fight in July and November this year and Australia's Jeff Horn has emerged as his likeliest opponent for his first bout. According to Bob Arum, the promoter of Pacquiao, the fight will likely be finalised within the coming week.

The much-hyped Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn fight was nearly off the table after the Filipino's team chased a US$38 million (AU$49 million) pay day against England’s Amir Khan, a potential bout that could take place in November. Khan, who underwent surgery on his right hand recently, is ready to step back into the ring -- and claims that the big money fight against the 38-year-old Pacquiao remains on the cards.

“Pacquiao is the biggest name in boxing, and I’m in the same 147 division, so it makes sense. People are saying the money in Dubai isn’t there and that’s why the fight is off. But the money is there. My team have seen the proof of that. I think the fight could happen — I really believe there’s still a chance," the 30-year-old Briton told The Sun in the aftermath of reports that the Manny Pacquiao vs. Amir Khan bout was off the table due to the lack of money.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn likely set for July

According to The Courier Mail, Pacquiao and Horn could lock horns in July. "(Though) the desert storm (Manny Pacquiao vs. Amir Khan) is off the table at the moment, there is speculation that it might happen in November, giving Horn confidence that his showdown with Pacquiao will finally happen," Grantlee Kieza reported while noting that Pacquiao had previously agreed to fight Australia's Jeff Horn at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on April 23 before Arum & Co. entered talks with Amir Khan.

Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2), who won his two fights last year against Timothy Bradley (Apr. 9) and Jessie Vargas (Nov. 5), has suffered only six losses through his illustrious career that began in 1995. Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), nicknamed the “Fighting Schoolteacher,” has yet to lose a fight. According to Sydney Morning Herald, "Should Pacquiao elect not to fight Horn, (Bob) Arum (has) suggested American Terence Crawford as a potential foe (for the July fight). Crawford is also in the Top Rank stable and represented by Arum."