His dream fight with Manny Pacquiao a done deal, Jeff Horn’s concern now is to have it held in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia, particularly at the 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium.
The World Boxing Organization welterweight title bout on April 23 was agreed upon in Las Vegas Tuesday night following talks between Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, and Dean Lonergan, Horn’s handler.
The venue, however, has yet to be decided as other promoters from the United Arab Emirates, notably from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have expressed interest to stage Pacquiao’s next fight, according to his adviser Mike Koncz.
While Horn announced his preference for Suncorp Stadium in a press conference in Brisbane yesterday, Lonergan, speaking from Las Vegas, told couriermail.com.au that the 12-round bout would go to wherever it made “the most commercial sense.”
To prevent Pacquiao-Horn from going offshore, the same report said Lonergan intends to meet with representatives from State Governments from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia to find the most logical venue.
Among those expected to bid is Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium which seats 56,000.
According to Glenn Rushton, Horn’s trainer, a Pacquiao fight in Australia would be a unique event and it would be a “tragedy” to see it go to a stadium in the UAE.
Koncz told the Inquirer yesterday that the choice of venue remains open and stressed that he’d find the best deal for Pacquiao.
“We won’t settle for peanuts,” said Koncz, noting that the main reason why Pacquiao keeps on fighting is “to give glory to his country and people and entertain fight fans.”
Arum told AP that the fight would be beamed to 159 countries, including the US, where it will be shown Saturday night.
“I would expect 3,000 to 4,000 Filipinos to fly from the Philippines for this fight Down Under,” Arum said. “It will be the biggest fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and USA.”
Though unbeaten (16-0-1 with 11 knockouts, the 28-year-old Horn is regarded as a massive underdog against Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), who is 10 years older.
The 5-foot-9 Horn, a former schoolteacher, however, is unfazed.
“It’s my time, I’m getting Pacquiao at the right moment,” said Horn, noting that Pacquiao slipped “10 percent” from the first time he saw him fight Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.
Arum is set to fly to the Philippines soon to meet with Pacquiao, who’s still in the Cayman Islands, and finalize the fight with Horn.
According to Aquilles Zonio, media relations chief of Pacquiao, the Fighting Senator called him yesterday and disclosed that he and Arum have yet to discuss the details of the fight with Horn.
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