Jeff Horn’s promoter will head to Los Angeles to begin negotiations with boxing supremo Bob Arum over a potential blockbuster fight against Manny Pacquiao on Australian soil.
Duco Events director Dean Lonergan will meet with Arum, the Top Rank chief executive, on Tuesday to discuss the financial and logistical feasibility of what would be the biggest fight in Australian boxing history.
After Horn’s win over South African Ali Funeka in Auckland last month, it appeared the 28-year-old former schoolteacher would have to get through at least one high-profile opponent before his chance against the Filipino legend would arrive.
But recent comments from Arum, who now wants to take Pacquiao on a world tour before his retirement, have changed the landscape. A fight in April, probably in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, is a possibility. “Bob is out there talking about it and the more you see Horn mentioned, the more he’d start to firm as favourite,” Lonergan said.
Horn (16-0-1) is the number two ranked boxer in the WBO while Pacquiao (59-6-2) is the welterweight champion after claiming the belt for the third time against Jessie Vargas in November. The 38-year-old, who is also a Philippines senator, had been in the frame to face undefeated American Terence Crawford but has reportedly demanded a $20 million fee for that fight to take place, prompting Arum to explore other options.
“You’d have to say right now because of our relationship with Bob Arum, Jeff Horn is a Duco/Top Rank fighter, it makes sense to keep the fight in-house,” Lonergan said. Lang Park is the preferred venue but it could also take place in either Melbourne or Sydney, depending on the level of sponsorship and stage government support the event could generate. Horn, a diehard rugby league fan, has a clear preference but admits beggars cannot be choosers in this scenario. “I’ve been there (Lang Park) before watching footy and to be there in the middle of it, fighting … it’d be a dream come true,” he said.
“Especially against Pacquiao, he’s one of the reasons I got into the sport, I was watching him before I even got into boxing. “There’s no point waiting, I reckon. I’ve got the tools to win against Pacquiao and I’ve believed that for a while.”