Battle of Brisbane | Inquirer Sports

Battle of Brisbane

Pacquiao, Horn ready to rumble Down Under; Manny eyeing Mayweather come-on as foe seeks upset
By: - Editor / @RLuarcaINQ
/ 11:20 PM July 01, 2017

Boxers Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines, second left, and Jeff Horn of Australia, second right, pose for a photo in Brisbane, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Pacquiao, is putting his WBO belt on the line Sunday, July 2, against the 29-year-old Horn. AP FILE PHOTO

into battle with a hungry young lion before over 50,000 blood-thirsty spectators.

They’re calling it the “Battle of Brisbane.” In truth, it is a fight searching for an identity.


It is a championship bout, for sure. Manny Pacquiao stakes his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium here Sunday. But belts hardly make for sure-fire classics nowadays.

It is a fight for legacy, perhaps. Turning 39 in December, Pacquiao is arguably the most accomplished boxer of his generation. An eight-division, 11-time world champion, he’s a sure Hall-of-Famer when he retires.


But hanging up his gloves is far from Pacquiao’s mind. Instead, he wants to prove that he can still fight at the elite level, especially against the new breed of ring stars like Horn, who’s nearly a decade younger.

It is a fight for the fans, apparently.

For the first time since 2005, Pacquiao will be fighting in a card that won’t be limited to pay-per-view in revenue-rich United States. Instead, ESPN will air the show on free TV in primetime.

And Pacquiao said this was his idea.

“This is the time that I give back to the fans,” said Pacquiao, who told promoter Bob Arum “let’s do free TV for the fans.”

It will also be the first time in a long while he’ll be facing a crowd that is neither cheering for him or split down the middle between the two fighters. Horn will get a majority of love from the crowd, which is expected to surpass the Australian record 38,000 attendance set when Jeff Fenech bowed to Azumah Nelson in 1992 in Melbourne.

It could also be a fight that would return Pacquiao to relevance.


The Filipino senator hasn’t knocked out an opponent since 2009 and against an oft-rigid, forward-charging foe, Pacquiao might finally have his chance.

“I have my punch back,” Pacquiao told trainer Freddie Roach.

It could also be the fight that pulls an underdog into the limelight.

Pacquiao has fought 67 times, emerging the victor 59 times, losing six times and drawing twice, with 38 of his victims, including superstars like Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton left sprawled in the ring.

The Queenslander Horn, on the other hand, is unscathed in 17 pro fights, knocking out 11 opponents.

But he is installed a heavy underdog and very few give the former school teacher a chance against the eight-division champion.

The bigger Horn intends to bring the war to Pacquiao from the opening bell of the 12-round tussle that will be beamed to over 30 countries, including the Philippines.

Pacquiao would eat up the chance to engage Horn toe-to-toe. After all, this might be the fight that brings a highly lucrative rematch with Floyd Mayweather to the table.

Roach, is prodding Pacquiao to go for an early stoppage, win impressively, make boxing fans happy, and lure promoters to offer him more juicy bouts—and none is juicier out there than “Money” Mayweather.

Like Roach, Glenn Rushton is convinced the fight won’t go the full route. The self-made millionaire trainer is convinced Horn, if he sticks to his 10-point plan, will be able to stop Pacquiao in the later rounds.

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