One of the biggest stars in the sport of boxing has his next opponent, and it is a strange fight, to say the least.
On Tuesday, Bob Arum of Top Rank told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that superstar Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO’s) will defend his newly claimed WBO welterweight title against the largely unknown Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO’s), of Australia.
This fight will take place on April 22. This is the chosen date because it occurs during a recess for the senate of the Philippines, where Pacquiao serves as a senator. The location for this fight has not yet been set, but according to Rafael, the fight will most likely take place in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Horn’s home country of Australia.
Pacquiao, a former eight-division titleholder, won the belt from Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10 KO’s) via unanimous decision in his last fight, his second since his loss to Floyd Mayweather. He will be making his first defense of the belt that he has held on three separate occasions. If the fact of the fight being overseas hold, this will be Pacquiao’s third fight outside of the United States since 2013. He has faced Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri in Macao, China in the past.
Horn is a very obscure opponent, that is fairly unknown to many hardcore fans in the boxing community, much less the casual ones. While he is undefeated, he has not faced any big-name opposition. The biggest name on his resume is former welterweight titleholder Randall Bailey (46-9, 39 KO’s), who he defeated by stoppage victory.
The word is, though, that Horn is a skilled fighter with an odd style and very solid punching power. But many doubt his readiness to fight someone like Pacquiao. Horn also holds the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight title.
Many fans called for Manny Pacquiao to face WBC/WBO unified junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford (30-0. 21 KO’s), of Omaha, Nebraska. That fight makes sense, as they are both promoted by Top Rank and Crawford is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. That fight seems to be on the horizon but could be a dangerous one for the 38-year-old Pacquiao.
It is still unknown if this fight will take place on pay-per-view, premium cable, or free TV. It would make sense if it took place on either premium cable or free TV, as this fight would bust on PPV. But, you never know with boxing these days.