WBO welterweight (147 lbs) champion Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) is in need of a new opponent following Manny Pacquiao’s decision to withdraw from their scheduled November 12th rematch in Australia. According to Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan, Pacquiao “will be part of a delegation that will visit China in the middle of his proposed preparation period for the fight.”
This reasoning does not sit well with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, whose government sponsored the first Pacquiao vs. Horn fight in July, and was set to sponsor the rematch.
“Frankly, I think he’s a bit too scared to come and face Jeff Horn,” she told reporters in Brisbane. (via news.com.au)
“For Manny not to reappear, really says to me that he knows Jeff is the world champion.”
Evidently she’s not the only one who holds this opinion. Check out this headline in tabloid newspaper The Courier-Mail.
Manny Pacquiao no hará revancha contra Jeff Horn antes de 2018 y así ilustra la noticia la prensa australiana pic.twitter.com/pi1looejNX— JuliusJulianis (@julianisjulius) September 2, 2017
Horn controversially defeated Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) by unanimous decision in a major upset at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium. There was a rematch clause in Pacquiao’s contract, and all signs pointed to him taking on the Aussie once more, but now it looks as if Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10 KOs) is the prevailing contender to challenge for Horn’s belt. Replacing Pacquiao with Vargas would mean Horn still fights a Top Rank Boxing opponent, thus the card could air on ESPN as part of Top Rank’s new TV deal.
With all of this said, Palaszczuk has someone else in mind: Conor McGregor (0-1, 0 KOs).
“If we could get McGregor, that would be great,” she said.
Well that’s... unrealistic, but it’s worth a shout! It’d definitely sell out an Australian stadium.
McGregor is coming off a 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his highly-anticipated professional boxing debut. The UFC lightweight champion is expected to make his return to the Octagon soon, and while McGregor wants to compete in both MMA and boxing, Dana White would rather he stick to the sport where he’s won two UFC titles.