China / Sports

Pacquiao hoping to school ex-teacher

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-04-10 15:47

SYDNEY - Manny Pacquiao will extend his illustrious career with a fight against a little-known former schoolteacher who never expected he'd get a shot at such a legend of the ring.

Pacquiao will take on Australian Jeff Horn on July 2 at Brisbane's 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium in a defense of Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title.

Promoters for Horn, a 29-year-old and the No 2 contender, had been working on a possible deal to fight Pacquiao since January, and finally made the announcement on Sunday with state government officials in attendance.

Pacquiao and his camp had attempted to line up a higher-paying fight with Britain's Amir Khan in the Middle East, but it never materialized after negotiations stalled for several months.

The 38-year-old Pacquiao is an 11-time world champion over eight weight divisions and is now a senator in the Philippines. He has a record of 59-6-2 while Horn is 16-0-1.

The bout, dubbed by organizers as "Australia's biggest-ever fight," is expected to be held at the open-air stadium around midday or early afternoon Sunday, July 2, coinciding with a primetime television audience back in the United States on the Saturday night, July 1.

And although Brisbane has a subtropical climate, July is right in the middle of the southern hemisphere's winter, when temperatures should be in the low 20s Celsius.

"Pacquiao and his managers sound a bit confident and cocky," said 2012 Olympian Horn at a press conference on Sunday, which Pacquiao did not attend.

"It's like they think 'we will just take this fight, come to Brisbane, knock over Jeff Horn, make our millions and go do the Khan fight'. I hope he keeps feeling that way."

There was no immediate reaction from Pacquiao via a statement or social media.

His last Twitter comment on April 1 included a photo of himself, his wife and five children wishing everyone a "Happy Sunday".

Horn said he may be not well-known but hoped the Pacquiao fight would be his stepping stone into the big-time.

"Amir Khan is a big name even though he has been knocked out so many times," Horn said. "But this is my chance to make a name for myself."

"I never thought Pacquiao would be around when I got my world-title shot. He is getting a bit older, I am still young. I am ready to take this shot and take it off Pacquiao."

The fight was secured by the Queensland state government and the city of Brisbane.

"Up to 55,000 boxing fans from across Australia and the world are expected to fill Suncorp Stadium to see the local teacher taking on one of the biggest names in boxing history, on his home turf," said Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Meanwhile, UFC president Dana White said he was confident a proposed bout between Conor McGregor and boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. is on the horizon.

"I see this fight happening," White said after UFC 210.

White said he will meet with Irishman McGregor, UFC's biggest star, in New York soon after the fighter's girlfriend is scheduled to give birth to their first child in May.

Once a long shot, the boxing match has inched closer to reality.

Associated Press

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