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Arum to meet Jeff Horn’s promoters next week to talk Pacquiao fight on April 23

Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has a scheduled meeting with Duco Events director Dean Longergan next Tuesday to talk about finalizing a fight between their fighter #2 WBO Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) and Arum’s fighter WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) for April 23 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Arum likes this fight for some reason. It’s unclear if there’s a lot of money to be made for Arum and Pacquiao from the Australian boxing fans through pay-per-view, or if he just sees this as a nice safe fight for his fighter.

Horn has getting knocked down lately by older 2nd tier fighters like Ali Funeka and Randall Bailey. Horn is still winning, but getting knocked down in his last two fights, which is a strong indication that the Australian fighter is badly flawed and not one of the more talented fighters in the 147lb division. The 85-year-old Arum still likes the Pacquiao-Horn fight.

This fight isn’t without risk for Pacquiao. If nothing else, Horn can punch a little, and he’s got the youth on his side with him being 10 years younger than the 38-year-old Pacquiao. I don’t know how Arum would feel watching Pacquiao get knocked out by Horn BEFORE he faces his Top Rank stable fighter Terence Crawford. If Horn knocks Pacquiao into permanent retirement, then you can forget about Crawford being transformed into a star by taking Pacquiao’s scalp later this year.

If Horn beats Pacquiao, he still won’t be a star in the U.S. He’ll just be seen as a guy that beat an old Pacquiao. Horn will need to beat Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook and Errol Spence Jr. for him to become a star. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

Perhaps one reason why Arum might be interested in matching Pacquiao against a flawed fighter like the 28-year-old Horn is the size of the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It seats 52,000 boxing fans. Now if Pacquiao vs. Horn can fill the entire stadium, then that’s a lot of green stuff for Pacquiao and Top Rank to whet their beaks with. There’s some good cash to be made off of Horn after all if he can bring in 52,000 fans for a fight against Pacquiao. There might be some PPV money from the Australian market as well. The money that gets made from the Aussie market will need to greatly outweigh the likely HUGE loss of revenue from the U.S market from PPV, because the American boxing fans probably won’t be too excited about paying to watch Pacquiao fight the little known Jeff Horn. It’s not a great fight for PPV.

Arum reportedly wants to have the fight shown on free television in the U.S. It might bring in a sizable viewing audience if it’s on free television. We’ll need to see. This would likely be a one-time free television showing for Pacquiao in the U.S, as Arum is interested in matching Pacquiao against fellow Top Rank fighter Terence Crawford in the 2nd half of the year. That would need to be on PPV though, because Crawford is said to want $7 million and Pacquiao $20 million.

Can a fight between Pacquiao and Crawford generate $27 million on PPV? I doubt it, but if Arum is eager enough to gamble on the fight, then he’ll make it happen from his end. It would be a pity if Arum and Top Rank lost money on that fight. There’s no real reason to put Pacquiao and Crawford together other than having the objective of trying to turn Crawford into Top Rank’s next PPV star, which I don’t see happening.

Pacquiao would be better off to be matched against fighters that the boxing public interested in rather than gambling on a fight that might not pan out. It’s Arum and Top Rank’s money though. If they want to put Pacquiao in with Crawford rather than popular fighters like Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto or Danny Garcia, then so be it. If I were Arum, I would try and get Cotto to agree to a rematch with Pacquiao. That would be a real money maker. They could even stage the fight in Puerto Rico, and it might sellout a stadium over there if Arum wants to turn Pacquiao into a worldwide star. Matching Pacquiao against Canelo in Mexico City or Gennady Golovkin in Kazakhstan would also be great fights to help broaden Pacquiao’s exposure around the world.

“Is it the right time? You could say that at any point,” Horn said to Grantlee Kieza of the Brisbane Courier-Mail. “I’ve got the youth on my side and Pacquiao’s 38 now. He’s got the experience but I have got the youth on my side and that will get me the win. I think over his last couple of fights, I’ve seen him go down a little bit. He’s still got very, very good movement, very good skill. But I think he has dropped just slightly, which is a lot at that level.”

Horn is being is kind by saying that Pacquiao has dropped slightly. He’s dropped more than slightly. If you look at Pacquiao’s last two fights against Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley, he looks about 50% of the fighter that beat Oscar De La Hoya in 2008. There’s no comparison. Pacquiao was so much better in 2008. If Pacquiao was still at that level, you’d have to hold him back from getting inside the ring with Crawford.

I think a young Pacquiao would make easy work of Crawford. It would be too easy, because he would have the hand speed and power advantage over Crawford. But at 38, Pacquiao has really slipped. I’m not sure that he can beat Jeff Horn, and I don’t see him having any chance against Crawford. That fight is little more than an attempt to turn Crawford into a star in my opinion, and I think it’s a going to be a fail. Sometimes it works to turn fighters into stars by throwing them in with an old name, but it’s still very, very rare. I can only think of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. where they were turned into stars by beating an old Oscar De La Hoya. It’s different though with Pacquiao. We already saw that Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez weren’t turned into stars after they beat Pacquiao in 2012.

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