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Jeff Horn’s promoters say Top Rank will decide on Pacquiao fight

Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Whether unbeaten Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) gets the fight against WBO 147lb title holder Manny Pacquiao will be decided by Top Rank, says Horns’ promoter Dean Lonergan.

Pacquiao and his adviser Michael Koncz seem to have other ideas of who they want to fight and where they want the fight to take place. Koncz and Pacquiao are talking about wanting to fight in the United Arab Emirates.

Horn’s promoters want the Pacquiao fight in Australia, which obviously would be good for them but probably not so great for Pacquiao. Since this is a voluntary defense for Pacquiao, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense for him to be fighting a guy ranked as high as Horn. Pacquiao should be able to fight a lower ranked fighter if he wants, and preferably someone that the U.S fans have heard of in the past. Even someone like Andre Berto would be a decent opponent for Pacquiao to fight.

There’s still no word from Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum about the status of the Pacquiao-Horn fight. What we do know is that the interest in that fight is minimal from the boxing public, and that was even before Pacquiao created a poll last weekend on his social media site asking the fans to select his next opponent. Horn came in last in the 4-fighter poll. That doesn’t mean that Horn won’t get the fight. If Arum wants him as the guy to face Pacquiao in April, then you would have to think there’s a very good chance that he’ll get the fight regardless of whether the boxing public is interested in the match-up or not. There wasn’t any demand for Pacquiao to fight Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley last year, and Arum still made the fights and both of them failed to bring in a lot of PPV buys.

“Michael Koncz has looked at other options, and he is well within his rights to do so,” Dean Lonergan said to “But Top Rank will still make the final call in consultation with Manny.”

If Pacquiao no longer cares about facing the biggest names and making the most money per fight, then a match-up against the likes of Jeff Horn would make sense. I’m not sure if the boxing public outside of Australia will take notice of the fight, but I don’t know if that’s the driving force for Arum with the match-making he’s doing for his Filipino star.

If money were the issue, then I think it would be doubtful that Arum would have matched Pacquiao against Jessie Vargas, Tim Bradley [for third fight], Chris Algieri and Brandon Rios. None of those fights made any sense at all if you’re trying to make a lot of money. Arum still made those fights. It’s unclear whether he was trying to increase the popularity of those fighters or if he felt those were easy money fights for Pacquiao. Horn is arguably a step down from Brandon Rios and Algieri in terms of popularity.

Horn has only been a pro for four years, and most of his fights have been in Australia. Horn is just starting out with his career even though he’s pushing 30 at age 28. It’s a fight that does very little for Pacquiao, and does a lot for Horn and his promoters. Why Pacquiao would ever agree to burning up one of his last remaining fights facing a little known fighter like Horn is the big question. It doesn’t make sense for Pacquiao to take this fight if he’s trying to maximize his income in his final fights.

It’s unclear why Arum wants to make this fight. What’s his rationale for wanting to match Pacquiao against a fighter like Horn? That’s what I would like to know. Pacquiao might be better off selecting the top vote getter from his Twitter poll in Amir Khan, who stomped the competition in winning 48 percent of the vote. If Arum were to try and make a fight between Pacquiao and Khan for April, I think he would have a very good chance of getting the fight.

Up until recently, Pacquiao was supposed to be fighting Jeff Horn on April 23 at the Suncorps Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. It’s a big stadium that seats a lot of boxing fans. It’s unclear whether the money that the fight would bring in from ticket sales and Australian PPV sales would make up for the likely lost revenue from the U.S PPV market. It’s rarely ever a good idea to match a superstar like Pacquiao against an obscure fighter that the casual boxing fans in the U.S have never heard of.

We just saw how few fans were interested in seeing Pacquiao’s last fight against Jessie Vargas. That’s a fight that made little sense to make other than for Pacquiao to get a sure thing win and to win a paper title. If Pacquiao is going to finish out his career fighting non-stars rather than the fighters that the fans want to see him fight, then that would be a sad ending. Pacquiao should go out on a high by testing himself against the best fighters like Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia. I don’t consider Amir Khan or Adrien Broner the best at 147, but those would likely bring in more revenue for Pacquiao than facing the likes of Horn, Bradley, Algieri, Rios and Vargas.

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