No fireworks, but Pacquiao, Horn promise a good bout for fans
BRISBANE, Australia— Both appeared dapper and dignified in their expensive suits and exchanged no harsh words during the press conference of “Battle of Brisbane” Wednesday.
For Manny Pacquiao, the Fighting Senator, and Jeff Horn, the fighting school teacher, their tussle for the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown on Sunday is but a job they have to do to please the fans.
Even the face-off produced no sparks as the protagonists simply looked at each other with Pacquiao needing to look up at Horn, who is three inches taller.
Being an 11-time world champion, Pacquiao is used to the occasion, while Horn is trying to cope with the whirlwind changes in his ring career.
From a virtual unknown, Horn suddenly found himself thrust into the limelight with a global icon—earning a shot at instant superstardom, money and glory.
Informed that attendance at Suncorp Stadium could reach 60,000 for Australia’s biggest ever boxing event, Pacquiao said fighting before such a huge crowd heightens his excitement.
And even if the fans will root for Horn, Pacquiao said he wouldn’t mind as it’s but natural for Aussies to be patriotic and side with their own.
Against Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003 in San Antonio, Texas, Pacquiao joked that there were only five fans, including trainer Freddie Roach, rooting for him. The rest were booing him. But Pacquiao turned the jeers into a source of inspiration to stop the Mexican great.
For his part, Horn swore he’s trained the hardest ever to make the most of the golden opportunity to attain his dream of becoming a world champion.
“Though Pacquiao is the smaller man, he’s the biggest mountain I have to climb,” said Horn, who’s unbeaten in 17 fights against opponents nowhere near Pacquiao’s level.
While Pacquiao said he had no premonition of what will happen on Sunday, Horn bared he had a dream or a picture of himself “rising in that ring with the belt in my waist.”
While Pacquiao and Roach chose to be guarded on the outcome of the fight, to be beamed live in the US via free TV on ESPN, Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, and fight promoter, Dean Lonegan of Duco Events, boldly announced that Horn will overwhelm Pacquiao.
“Manny’s time has come,” said Lonegan, adding it’s Horn’s turn to be a boxing champion.
Referring to Horn as a very competitive guy with a heart as big as Suncorp, Rushton said Pacquiao is in for the toughest fight of his life.
“It will be like 100 angry hornets surrounding you (Pacquiao),” he said.
While Roach refused to predict a knockout at the podium, he later told Filipino sportswriters that he sees Pacquiao finally ending his eight-year knockout drought in three rounds—especially if Horn chooses to engage Pacquiao toe-to-toe as he promised.
“If our opponent comes out, we’re gonna fire back,” said Roach.
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