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Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn possible for 2017


By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao could wind up defending his WBO welterweight title against unbeaten contender Jeff Horn (15-0-1, 10 Kos) in 2017 if Horn wins his next fight against 38-year-old Ali Funeka (39-5-3, 31 KOs) on December 10, according to Fight News. Horn is ranked #2 by the World Boxing Organization at 147, and right behind #1 Tim Bradley.

It’s doubtful that Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is going to make a fight between Pacquiao and Bradley in 2017, because the two fighters recently fought each other for the third time in April of this year. A fourth fight between Pacquiao and Bradley would likely draw no interest at all from the boxing public if Arum made this match-up.

That’s not to say that Arum won’t put Pacquiao back in with Bradley for a fourth fight, because I wouldn’t put it past him in doing that. I don’t think it would be a good move for Pacquiao, because fans appear to have been worn out with the whole Pacquiao-Bradley series of fights. They want new blood. Horn, 28, represents new blood and he’s arguably safe fight for Pacquiao.

Arum said this to about a potential fight between Horn and Pacquiao:

“Jeff Horn is a really good fighter,” said Arum. “Horn belongs in the top echelon of the division. He has to perform well on December 10 and I can then evaluate him based on the other welterweights.”

Horn vs. Funeka will be taking place on the undercard of the heavyweight match-up between Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz Jr. on December 10 at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Horn fought in the 2012 London Olympics for Australia, but he was beaten by Denis Berinchik of Ukraine by a 21-13 score in the quarterfinals. Berinchik lost in the gold medal match to Roniel Inglesias of Cuba.

It would be very surprising if Arum matches Pacquiao up against Horn in 2017. It’s possible, but I doubt that Arum will make that fight. If Horn becomes Pacquiao’s mandatory challenger, I see him ignoring him and being matched by Arum against his Top Rank stable fighters Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko next year. Those are obvious matches that Arum will make.

If Pacquiao hasn’t been beaten by both of those guys, then I see Arum either making rematches with them or putting him back in with Bradley for a fourth fight. If Floyd Mayweather Jr. makes a comeback, then it’s possible that Arum would make a fight between him and Pacquiao if Mayweather is open to that fight. That’s the only non-Top Rank fighter I can see Arum being willing to put in with Pacquiao for the remainder of his career.

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I think Arum is going to keep Pacquiao just with his own Top Rank guys until he retires, because he doesn’t have enough time left to be matched against non-Top Rank guys. Pacquiao has been matched against Top Rank fighters in 11 out of his last 13 fights. I don’t see Pacquiao fighting anyone outside of Arum’s Top Rank stable for the remainder of his career unless Mayweather comes back. If the WBO pushes Pacquiao to fight Horn, then it’s possible that he might vacate rather than take that fight. The U.S boxing public would likely not be interested in seeing Pacquiao fight Horn on HBO pay-per-view.

It’s hard to know what Arum will do as far as matching Pacquiao in 2017. I would have never thought that Arum would arguably waste three of Pacquiao’s fights in the prime of his career by putting him in with Chris Algieri, Brandon Rios and Joshua Clottey. Those fights did not do big PPV numbers in comparison to some of Pacquiao’s other fights.

Arum might do something similar by sticking Pacquiao in with Horn and watching the fight bring in less than 300,000 buys on pay-per-view. I can’t see it though. I think Arum is just going to stick with putting Pacquiao in with his Top Rank stable fighters until he retires from the sport rather than matching him against non-Top Rank guys. Even if Pacquiao can make more money fighting someone not in Arum’s stable, I still see him sticking with his only guys.

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Horn was mentioned recently as a possible opponent for Errol Spence Jr. if IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook vacated his title. But now that it’s clear that Brook is going to defend his IBF belt against Spence, there’s no point in talking about Horn facing Spence. Horn will still likely wind up waiting until Pacquiao vacates or has his WBO title stripped from him before he gets a crack at it. In that case, Horn would likely be facing Tim Bradley for the WBO title. That would be a tough fight for Horn, but he might have enough youth, size and power to beat Bradley if the fight doesn’t happen soon. Bradley is going to get older waiting. Arum will likely match Pacquiao and Bradley back up against each other in a fourth fight. It’ll be forlorn by that point seeing Pacquiao and Bradley fighting each other a fourth time.

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