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Roach says Burns or Horn possible for Pacquiao’s April fight

Freddie Roach Manny Pacquiao Ricky Burns

By Chris Williams: WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s trainer says that WBA World light welterweight champion Ricky Burns (41-5-1, 14 KOs) and #2 IBF, #2 WBO Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) are the two possibilities for Pacquiao’s next fight on April 23.

The 33-year-old Burns is a new name that has been added to the list. Previously, it was just Horn as the potential guy for the fight against the 38-year-old Pacquiao after WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs) was ruled out as a possible opponent by Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum, who said that fight wouldn’t be taking place in the first half of 2017.

Roach says that the $7 million that Crawford requested for the Pacquiao fight was rejected by Arum.

Roach also says that Pacquiao’s contract says he’s supposed to get a minimum of $20 million per fight. He only took less than that in his last fight against WBO 147lb champion Jessie Vargas because it wasn’t a great opponent. Roach seems to feel that $20 million is a fair request for Pacquiao for the Crawford fight due to it being part of his contract to receive that guaranteed amount for his fights.

It’s unclear if Pacquiao’s contact with Top Rank states that they can give him less than $20 million per fight if they match him against lesser names rather than putting him in with talented fighters like Danny Garcia, Adrian Broner, Keith Thurman, Saul Canelo, Alvarez, Kell Brook or Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. If it’s in Pacquiao’s contract to receive $20 million per fight, then it makes all the sense in the world for him to be asking for $20 million for the Crawford fight. Further, unless Pacquiao can receive $20 million for fighting Burns or Horn, it doesn’t seem like the wisest move for him to agree to a fight against either of those guys.

Roach said this to about Pacquiao’s $20 million guaranteed per fight, and the news of Burns and Horn being possible opponents for him in his next fight:

“Well, that is our guarantee in our contract. That’s what it is,” said Roach about Pacquiao being guaranteed $20 million minimum per fight. “The thing is, we took a cut last time. We’re not going to take a cut for Crawford. Crawford asked for $7 million, and Bob said ‘no way’ to him also. That’s what I hear at least. Bob called me two weeks ago, and said Crawford is the only guy out there. Two days ago he called me and told me about the fighter from England, Burns, so Burns or the Australian guy. I don’t know the Australian guy either. His contract reads that his minimum is $20 million. He didn’t demand $20 million last time, because we went with a lesser opponent. I guess then Crawford, but if they want Crawford, then they’re going to need to pay the minimum,” said Roach.

Matching Pacquiao against Ricky Burns or Jeff Horn makes little sense. Neither of those fighters is likely going to pull in a lot of pay-per-view buys in the U.S. The only way that it would make sense for Pacquiao to fight either of those guys is if he can get huge money from PPV from their countries.

Burns is a good fighter, but I don’t think he’s a PPV guy in the UK. Certainly, a fight between Burns and Pacquiao would likely be sold on Sky Box Office PPV in the UK, and it would bring in some buys. Nevertheless, it’s doubtful that a fight of that nature could bring in more than 300,000 buys tops. IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is the big PPV guy in the UK. He can pull in 600,000 buys when matched against someone in a compelling fight, but he’s at a different level of stardom than Burns. About the only thing that a fight against Burns would be good for would be to generate a large gate if the fight were to take place in his home city of Glasgow, Scotland.

Pacquiao vs. Burns can probably sellout a small stadium, and bring in some cash that way. The real money comes from PPV, and I don’t think a fight between him and Pacquiao would generate enough for Pacquiao to get his $20 million guaranteed minimum. Burns recently won the WBA 140lb title last year in beating Michele Di Rocco. Burns has defended the title once in beating Kiryl Relikh last October. Burns’ promoter Eddie Hearn is interested in matching him against Adrien Broner. But if Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum wants to make a match between them, then Hearn would likely jump with both feet to take that fight. It doesn’t make much sense for Pacquiao to fight Burns unless Arum has a plan of using the fight to build up a bigger one against IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook. That’s the fight that Arum should be looking to make, not a fight against Burns. Brook is arguably a bigger star than Burns in the UK now that he gave middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin all kinds of trouble in their recent fight. Brook was beating Golovkin last September at the time that he suffered an eye injury. Without the injury, Brook could have sent Golovkin down to his first defeat of his career. My point is that Brook is the fighter that Arum should be trying to match Pacquiao against if he wants to put him in with someone from overseas.

With Pacquiao being the WBO welterweight champion, he can face Brook in a unification fight. Brook is supposed to defend his IBF title against his #1 mandatory Errol Spence Jr. next in the first half of 2017. However, unification fights take precedence over title defenses. Brook can probably put Spence on hold by Hearn telling the International Boxing Federation that they plan on facing Pacquiao in a unification fight. However, Arum hasn’t mentioned Brook as a possibility for Pacquiao despite him being a great choice for him to fight. Arum has his reasons. He might not have even thought about the possibility of Brook.

Sometimes promoters can get tunnel vision in looking at just one option from the get go, and they don’t open their eyes o other possibilities. It’s possible that Arum did think of matching Pacquiao against Brook, but immediately realized that he might lose that fight. Brook is in his prime and he’s not soft target like Pacquiao’s last two fights against Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley. Brook lost to Golovkin last September, but he suffered an eye injury. If Brook was able to get the better of a middleweight like Golovkin, then just imagine what he’d do against someone like the 38-year-old Pacquiao. It might not even be a fair fight, because Brook can punch, move, and he’s hard to hit. Hitting Brook with anything is difficult.

Golovkin was missing him with his power shots all night long. Smart fighters would decrease the power on their shots so that they could land, but not Golovkin. He kept swinging for the fences with 100 percent power with every punch he threw at Brook, and he wound up missing almost everything. If that been Pacquiao in the ring with Brook on the night, I think he would have been beaten.

Burns and Horn are terrible options for Pacquiao. However, Arum might just be looking to make sure he keeps Pacquiao winning. I can understand it if Arum wants to make sure he matches Pacquiao against fighters he has a good chance of beating. Burns and Horn are both very beatable fighters.

I still think Arum would be better off looking in another direction than those guys. Fighting Horn is not without risk. The Australian fighter is big for the division, and he’s got heavy hands. He’s been knocked down in his last two fights, but he’s gotten right back up to stop both of his opponents in Ali Funeka and Randall Bailey. I don’t know if Pacquiao could knock down a motivated Horn. The guy is young at 28, and this would be his Super Bowl. He would be totally motivated in fighting in front of his own boxing fans in Brisbane, Australia, which is where the fight against Pacquiao could take place.

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