SYDNEY, Australia – Manny Pacquiao’s camp say they want a quick win over Australian Jeff Horn in July to set up a higher-profile title fight with British boxer Amir Khan.
The world champion, 38, will face the undefeated Horn, 29, in Brisbane on July 2, the Filipino’s advisor told AFP in Manila on Wednesday.
The announcement ended months of speculation on who the fighter dubbed “Pacman” would face next as he seeks to prolong a stellar career that saw him win world titles in 8 different weight classes.
It is the second time the Horn bout has been touted, after Pacquiao earlier this year instead decided to pursue a big money fight with Khan in the United Arab Emirates. But the deal fell through.
“We’re not able to fight Amir Khan because of Ramadan, so we decided to take this fight in the interim,” Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz told Fox Sports in Australia on Thursday, March 6.
Koncz said Pacquiao’s fans preferred him to fight the Briton, with that prospect now on the table for October or November.
“We signed it, so yeah, we’re excited about it. But again, my preference was to fight Amir Khan,” Koncz said. “That didn’t work out. We had this on the table so we decided to take it.
“Manny will train and do the best he can and hopefully we get the fight over with very quickly, we get out of there, we say hi to the Australian fans and media and come home,” he added.
“Frankly and honestly, and nothing against Jeff Horn – I’ve never met the kid, I don’t know him personally – but the name recognition is I guess why the fans picked Amir Khan.”
Koncz tells Rappler that Pacquiao wants the fight to be broadcast on “free TV” and not on pay-per-view. The last time a Pacquiao fight was shown off of pay-per-view was in 2005, when he knocked out Hector Velazquez in a fight shown on regular HBO.
Koncz said Pacquiao would be staking his World Boxing Organization welterweight crown against the Australian.
The Filipino, who has been hailed as a virtual national hero in his home country, briefly retired early last year and then ran and won a seat in the Philippine senate.
But the retirement was short-lived as Pacquiao, who said he missed the ring, made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas, winning by unanimous decision in Las Vegas in November. – with reports from Ryan Songalia/Rappler.com
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