Jeff Horn: I can beat Pacquiao
By Chris Williams: Unbeaten #2 WBO, #2 IBF Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) could be the next opponent for WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) to make his first defense of his title against in April. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is looking to finalize a fight for the 38-year-old Pacquiao, and it could be Horn that gets the call.
The fight would take place in Horn’s native country of Australia in Brisbane. He can draw a lot of boxing fans if the fight takes place there. Just how many is unclear, but definitely a lot more than Pacquiao can bring in if he were to fight in the U.S.
The days of Pacquiao bringing in large audiences in the U.S appear to be over at this part in his career. You can blame a lot of that on the repetitive dull fights that Pacquiao is being put in by his promoters at Top Rank.
There’s not been a great deal of interest from fans in seeing Pacquiao fight Tim Bradley for a third time and Jessie Vargas. It was predictable that those fights wouldn’t attract interest in the U.S. You can predict the same thing about Pacquiao fighting little known 28-year-old Jeff Horn. Why Arum is interested in this fight is anyone’s guess, because it’s not going to be a money maker, and definitely won’t turn Horn into a star in the U.S.
Horn said this to skysports.com about his belief that he can beat Pacquiao:
“I think I’ve got the skills to upset him. If I land clean, I’ll definitely bother him,” said Horn. “I feel like my style will suit fighting Pacquiao. He’s a good mover, he’s a hard puncher, but he hasn’t knocked out any welterweights any time soon, and I don’t think he would be able to knock out me either, unless I ran into a big one of his.”
Horn has shown a chin problem in two out of his last three fights, and that’s not good news if the 85-year-old Arum plans on turning him into a star. 38-year-old Ali Funeka knocked Horn down in the 3rd round in their fight on December 10. Horn later stopped Funeka in the 6th round, but it wasn’t a good sign that he was knocked down by the former lightweight.
42-year-old Randall Bailey also knocked Horn down in the 3rd round in their fight last year in April 2016. Horn came back to get a stoppage in the 7th round of that fight. Seeing Horn get knocked down by older fighters that are not relevant in the welterweight division is not what you want to see from a contender. The WBO and IBF might be better off ranking Horn lower in their rankings, because he’s not fighting like someone with the high ranking that he’s been given by these two sanctioning bodies.
It appears to me that Arum is matching Pacquiao against Horn so that he can milk his WBO title for one fight before he feeds him to Terence Crawford later this year. If that’s Arum’s plan, I think it might backfire on him, because I wouldn’t be surprised if Horn beats Pacquiao. It’s not because I think Horn is a good fighter, because I don’t see him as a high caliber guy. I think Pacquiao is now over-the-hill. He looked really bad in his last fight against Jessie Vargas.
If Horn beats Pacquiao, then it’s going to take a lot of interest in a Pacquiao vs. Crawford fight later this year. I think Arum will still make that fight though, because he won’t be able to sell Crawford vs. Horn in the U.S.
It won’t matter if Horn beats Pacquiao. Arum still won’t be able to attract a lot of interest in a fight between Horn and Crawford. Arum would need to still make the fight between Pacquiao and Crawford with Pacquiao coming off of a loss. I can’t see a fight between Crawford and a beaten Pacquiao drawing flies on PPV, whether it be Top Rank or HBO PPV. If Pacquiao loses to Horn, then it’s going to hurt an eventual fight against Crawford. Pacquiao reportedly wants $20 million to fight Crawford. I think he might need to lower his asking price for that fight if he gets beaten by Horn.