In April of 2016, Manny Pacquiao “retired” so he can “serve the people” of the Philippines. After winning the senatorial seat, he un-retired and fought just a couple of months later. He faced then WBO champion Jessie Vargas, in a bout that completely bombed on pay-per-view and had his lowest buy-rate in almost a decade.
Pacquiao has expressed his desire to continue competing, and his next bout is nearly finalized. Instead of the bout that fans wanted against junior welterweight champion Terrence Crawford, or even the borderline freakshow bout that Arum suggested against the uber-talented Vasyl Lomachenko, they’re going in a completely different direction.
“We have an agreement with (Jeff) Horn but it’s all subject to Manny’s approval,” Arum told Ring TV. “And it’s all subject to getting a site. So it’s still up in the air but it looks like it’s headed (with a bout with Horn).”
Arum says Pacquiao is fighting Jeff Horn.
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking, “Who the fook is that guy!?”
Well, I’ll let our friends over at Bad Left Hook give you an idea:
Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO), 28, reached the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals before falling to eventual silver medalist Denys Berinchyk. He’s fought solid opposition as a pro, most recently knocking out Ali Funeka on the undercard of Joseph Parker vs. Andy Ruiz Jr, but Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO) is in a whole other dimension.
Horn is ranked #2 by the WBO behind Jessie Vargas, so at least it makes sense rankings-wise. He’s not a bad fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but personally, watching him fight Manny Pacquiao this early in his career holds no appeal.
Arum himself doesn’t seem to hide what he thinks about the match up.
"I thought he was a really rugged guy. He's a good fighter," Arum told ESPN. "Does he beat Manny? Probably not, but he's going to give him a good fight. He has a very pleasing personality."
According to the Top Rank promoter, the deal is basically done, and all he needs is to fly to the Philippines and get the go-signal from Manny himself. Instead of Las Vegas, Arum says the fight will take place in Horn’s home of Australia, or in the UAE.
The bout surely won’t sell on pay-per-view, and Arum said he is looking to finalize a network deal that would likely be shown for free in the US.