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Pacquiao vs. Horn: Does anyone care?

Manny Pacquiao

By Jeff Aranow: Earlier today, the July 1 fight between WBO welterweight champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) and Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) was announced for Saturday, July 1 (Sunday, July 2 for Australia) at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. There’s no word yet whether the Pacquiao-Horn fight will be carried live by HBO PPV or if will be televised on Top Rank PPV. Pacquiao could make a name for the 29-year-old Horn if he loses to him or if he has a hard time beating him.

This would make Horn a likely star in his native Australia, and it would put him on the map in the U.S for the boxing fans that choose to watch the fight. I don’t know how many fans from the U.S that will go out of their way to see the Pacquiao-Horn fight, unfortunately.

This is a huge drop off from the days when Pacquiao was fighting interesting opponents like Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Antonio Margarito and Juan Manuel Marquez.

At 38, Pacquiao is fighting Jeff Horn. Years ago, you would have never predicted that Pacquiao would be fighting guys like this at this point in his career. I always thought Pacquiao would go out in a blaze of glory by fighting the best until the very end of his career. Instead, we’re seeing Pacquiao fighting guys Horn, Brandon Rios, Jessie Vargas, Chris Algeiri and Tim Bradley [multiple times].

Horn comes into the fight with Pacquiao with his best wins coming against Rico Mueller, Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka. Horn is rated #2 by the IBF and WBO. Horn does not look like he should be ranked that high. Just what the criteria those two sanctioning bodies used to rank Horn so high is impossible to know. Horn does not look as good as some of the other contenders in the division like Shawn Porter, but he’s still ranked above him.

At first glance, you can argue it’s not a PPV worthy fight, but we recently saw Terence Crawford fighting Viktor Postol on PPV.

Pacquiao is still a bigger draw than Crawford, even though he’s no longer being matched against big names at this point in his career. Pacquiao’s last fight was Jessie Vargas, and his fight before that was Tim Bradley. It looks like Pacquiao is playing out his hand in finishing his 22-year pro career facing the guys picked out by his promoters at Top Rank.

I wonder if Pacquiao regrets resuming his boxing career. He had had retired after his third fight with Tim Bradley last year. Pacquiao came back last September to fight Jessie Vargas for his WBO title. It was thought that Pacquiao would fight Amir Khan after that. But his promoter Bob Arum instead chose to match him against Jeff Horn instead.

This fight has generated very little interest from the boxing public today in the U.S. There isn’t much talk at all about the fight, and already it’s looking a bad move on Pacquiao’s promoter’s part in the eyes of many boxing fans for putting him in with a little known fighter like Horn.

Top Rank has their reasons for making the Pacquiao-Horn fight. Is this the best fight that Pacquiao can get at this point in his career or is it the only fight that his promoters were interested in putting him in?

The promotion for the Pacquiao vs. Horn fight will be run by Pacquiao’s longtime promoters at Top Rank along with Horn’s promoters at Duco Events. They’re calling it, “The Battle of Brisbane,” which is where the fight will be taking place. They expect a large crowd of 55,000 fans to show up to see the fight. It would be the biggest crowd that Pacquiao has ever fought in front of.

It could be that the money that Pacquiao will be getting from the Australian side is enough to make up for the lost PPV sales from the U.S market, because this isn’t a sellable fight in the States. However, there are only a small handful of guys in the U.S that would bring in good money fighting Pacquiao on PPV, but they’re not with his promoters at Top Rank. We might not ever see Pacquiao fight Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Kell Brook or Amir Khan. We will probably see Pacquiao fight Terence Crawford. After that, it’s going to be interesting to see who Top Rank puts Pacquiao in with. If they keep matching him against their own fighters, then we might need to see something unusual like Pacquiao vs. Oscar Valdez. Vasyl Lomachenko is probably not going to move up to 140 or 147 to fight Pacquiao.

“Manny has been a pioneer, bringing world title fights to Cowboys Stadium, The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena and now Suncorp Stadium. We’re boxing’s version of Lewis & Clark, discovering new markets,” said Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum. “Manny knows who will be the crowd favorite on July 1, but he can’t wait to give Australia and the world a great performance. It’s going to be unbelievable event.”

Pacquiao will need to stay motivated so that he doesn’t get beaten for lack of preparation. He has to remember that this fight is basically Horn’s Super Bowl. He needs this win a lot more than Pacquiao does because he hasn’t made a name for himself yet.

Horn has to beat Pacquiao to take his scalp to try and become a star. I don’t think Horn will be a star if he wins this fight, but he’ll be a big name in Australia. The tricky part for Horn is what happens if he has to face one of the top fighters that are still in their prime like Errol Spence Jr., Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter. Those fights would be very tough for him, because he was already knocked down by Funeka and Bailey in those fights. Those are old guys.

It would be great to see Pacquiao show his old form to beat Horn in an impressive manner, but the fight may not be seen by enough boxing fans in the States for the fans to care about his performance.

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