ÑIn just a few hours, Filipino boxing icon Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao will square off against the Australian rising star Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn in the “Battle of Brisbane” at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. The scheduled 12-round fight is for Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight title and will be televised in over 150 countries.
According to the Weekend Australian Magazine, veteran Australian sports manager Jim Banaghan has dubbed the Pacquiao-Horn title fight as “the greatest fight in Australian history.” And Banaghan is probably not that far off in his claim. Australia hasn’t hosted a boxing event of this magnitude. While the oddsmakers have Pacquiao as the heavy favorite due to his power, speed, ring-savvy, and experience, his opponent Jeff Horn is an ex-Olympian who has never tasted defeat and has beaten 10 top-15 ranked opponents in his 3-year professional boxing career. Also, Pacquiao is used to fighting with the majority of the crowd behind him. This time, however, Horn will have the homecourt advantage as The Hornet will be fighting in his own country.
Pacquiao Notable Wins
The story of Manny Pacquiao is a tale that has been told countless times now that most boxing fans know it by heart. The dirt-poor kid who’s only skill is his determination. And yes, from where the Pacman came from, that determination is definitely a skill. His determination got him into the ring, which at the beginning was only a means to an end, a way to feed his struggling family. Fast forward to the present and a classic rags-to-riches story that seems too strange to be real has been written as if it was a fairy tale. And as strange as Pacquaio’s story is, it is certainly better than those classic “you-can-be-anyone-who-you-want-to-be” stories meant to inspire children to dream big:”The dirt-poor kid who became a Senator.”
But before Pacquaio became a legally elected Senator from the Philippines, he used his other skill to make a name for himself. And that other skill has been honed through years of partnership with a father-like figure in Freddy Roach. Under the tutelage of Roach, Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO’s) has beaten boxing legends the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, and Oscar de la Joya. While Pacquiao’s win against de la Joya is clearly a match between the up-and-coming superstar and that old superstar, the Pacman has also beaten Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley, Ricky Hatton, and David Diaz who were all in their primes when they took the ring against Pacquiao.
This time though, Pacman is the old superstar and the new up-and-coming superstar is Jeff Horn. Pacquiao is confident, however, that history will not repeat itself and he believes that he has what it takes to beat the younger Horn.
Jeff Horn Notable Wins
Now, the 29-year-old Jeff Horn also has a story worthy of being adapted for a true-to-life movie. Raised by parents who never wanted him to be a boxer, Horn comes across as an ordinary guy, soft-spoken and well-mannered. It all goes away, however, when he enters the boxing ring.
Jeff Horn is a former Olympian and arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer Australia has to offer. Horn also happens to be a teacher, taking up relief teaching at high schools in some parts of Queensland when he is not punching people for a living. Horn made Australia’s 2012 Olympic squad around the same time that he was working on getting his education degree.
Not many people know about Jeff Horn since he exclusively fights in Australia or New Zealand. However, Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO’s) has scored victories over American Randall Bailey, Germany’s Rico Mueller, South African Ali Funeka, and Ukrainian Viktor Plotnykov. Horn has been given the chance to square off against the living legend by virtue of being ranked number 2 by the WBO.
The 38-year-old Pacquiao weighed in at 145.7 pounds while the 29-year-old Horn weighed in at 146.3 pounds. However, according to The Courier Mail, Horn had to drop 4.6 kilograms in 15 hours to make the weight limit.
What’s Next if Pacquiao Wins?
Granted that Pacquiao has slowed down since his TKO victory over Cotto in 2009, Freddie Roach insists that Manny Pacquiao has to knock-out Horn in his hometown to have a chance of landing another mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather. Incidentally, Mayweather is scheduled to fight UFC champ Connor McGregor in August. According to the Forbes, if Pacman wins convincingly, Terrence Jones, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, and Adrien Broner could be next in line for Pacquiao.
What’s Next if Horn Wins?
If Jeff Horn defeats Manny Pacquiao, then his immediate opponent will probably be Pacquiao again because of the rematch clause in their contract. If Pacman declines a rematch in the event of a Horn win, then Horn and his management group will not find it difficult to find his next opponent.
According to the Bleacher Report, Jeff Horn is a +400 underdog (bet $100 to win $400) while Pacquiao is booked at – 600 (bet $600 to win $100). Pacquiao should win this fight against Horn. But then again, this is boxing and one punch can make a difference, and anyone can be shocked. Pacman is aware of this after being a victim of one such punch thrown by Juan Manuel Marquez in their last meeting. Also, Horn has nothing to lose, and everything to gain in fighting against Pacquiao. If the Pacquiao of old shows up, however, then Horn has little chance of pulling a victory against one of the all-time great boxers in the world. Be that as it may, the Pacquiao-Horn fight should live up to the billing as the greatest fight in Australian history.
[Featured Image by Chris Hyde/Getty Images]