This Saturday night, it’s ESPN who takes the lead on presenting boxing, as they host the latest from boxing megastar Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2; 38 KO), as he takes on Australia’s Jeff Horn (16-0-1; 11 KO) The fight is for Pacquiao’s WBO Welterweight (147 pound) title. Ring Magazine puts Pacquiao at #4 in the division, with Horn unranked. The fight will air live on ESPN this Saturday, July 1 with a fight time of 9:00 p.m. ET. for the preview show and prelim fight, and 10:00 p.m. for the main card, which also includes a fight from Irish Olympian Michael Conlan.
How do these two stack up?
Pacquiao: 38 years old | 5’5” | 67" reach | southpaw stance
Horn: 29 years old | 5’9" | 68" reach | orthodox stance
What have these two done recently?
Pacquiao: W - Jessie Vargas (UD) | W - Timothy Bradley (UD) | L - Floyd Mayweather (UD)
Horn: W - Ali Funeka (TKO) | W - Rico Mueller (TKO) | W - Randall Bailey (TD)
How did these two get here?
Manny Pacquiao is an undeniable future Hall of Fame fighter and, along with Floyd Mayweather, one of the top two fighters of our era, both in terms of skill and star power. But since a 2012 KO loss to career rival Juan Manuel Marquez, it hasn’t been easy going for Pacquiao. He has been criticized for facing softball opponents like Chris Algieri, Jessie Vargas, and Timothy Bradley in their 3rd fight; he was pretty handily outclassed by Mayweather in their superfight; and he’s been dropped by HBO and relegated to the sidelines. Oh, and he’s drawn the ire of many fans and been dropped by Nike after homophobic comments. Throughout all of this, he’s also become a senator, and questions about his commitment to boxing have become a regular occurrence.
Jeff Horn is an Aussie fighter who will be fighting in front of a likely rabid pro-Horn crowd in his home of Brisbane. He’s never competed outside of Australia before, and has only been a pro since 2013 (for perspective, the entirety of Horn’s pro career takes place after the Pacquiao KO loss). He had a good amateur career, including a stint in the 2012 Olympics, and has been fighting decent opponents in Australia, taking on fighters with respectable records. But he has not fought anyone of any note to the international scene. He’s taking an absolutely massive step up here.
What can fans expect?
Like I said, there are questions about Pacquiao’s focus on boxing, and rightly so. But there’s also absoltely no reason to think Jeff Horn is the fighter to translate that lack of focus into victory over the senator. Pacquiao remains one of the best talents in the game - neither Timothy Bradley nor Jessie Vargas are bad fighters by any wild stretch of the imagination, but Pac made both look levels below him just last year. Horn is pretty clearly a level below them, so it’s hard to envision him having any more success. You could point to some things Horn has going for him - he’s young (like Vargas), he’s hungry (like Vargas), he has nothing to lose (like Vargas), and he’s got the power edge (like Vargas). But he’s not as tested as Vargas, which makes this ending seemingly even less in doubt.
Prediction: Manny Pacquiao, UD
Who should watch?
If you had to pay, it’s worth skipping. But it’s one of the best in the world not terribly far removed from his prime competing on cable. Check it out.