Manny Pacquiao set to return to ring on April 23
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Manny Pacquiao will add another fight to his long career resume when he takes on Australian welterweight Jeff Horn on April 23 at a venue to be decided.
Promoter Duco Events said Wednesday the location for the fight involving the 38-year-old Pacquiao could be in one of Australia’s major cities, possibly Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, or the Middle East or United States.
“The preference for all parties is for the fight to be held in Australia, and we are working towards this outcome,” said Duco director Dean Lonergan, who met with Top Rank chief Bob Arum this week to set up the fight.
Arum said he wants the fight to take place at an outdoor stadium, and it would be beamed into 159 different countries, including the U.S., where it would be shown in a prime-time Saturday night time slot on free-to-air TV.
“I would expect 3 to 4,000 Filipinos to fly from the Philippines for this fight down under,” Arum said. “It will be the biggest fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and USA.”
It is a nine-hour flight from Manila to Brisbane.
Pacquiao, 59-6-2, captured the WBO welterweight title for the third time against Jessie Vargas in November.
He earned a reported $100 million while losing to Floyd Mayweather in the richest fight ever in 2013.
Horn (16-0-1) is a 28-year-old former schoolteacher who fought at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He is No. 2 in the WBO’s welterweight rankings. Pacquiao is the WBO champion in that division while also juggling a career as a senator in the Philippines.
“I feel in his last few fights I’ve seen some weaknesses that he has and I just think I can get those,” Horn said. “I can beat him because I can see those weaknesses, I know Glen (trainer Rushton) can see those weaknesses.”
Rushton said it would be a “tragedy” if the fight happened anywhere other than Brisbane.
“We really hope the Queensland government and so forth will feel the same way,” he said. “It just makes sense, but also for the future. This can reinvigorate boxing in Australia.”
Horn’s last fight was a knockout of South African veteran Ali Funeka in Auckland, New Zealand in December, with Arum at ringside.