By David Finger
Well it’s official: WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will be fighting Australia’s Jeff Horn, the WBO’s #2 ranked welterweight in April.
What isn’t official yet is if it will be in Horn’s backyard.
Although Brisbane, Australia remains the frontrunner, promoter Bob Arum indicated on Twitter two days ago that he is still open to offers on the location of the fight.
“Offers are coming in from all over the world,” Arum Tweeted on Monday, before the fight was finalized. “Australia, Russia, UK and U.S. What a way to go out.”
Although the Brisbane Times are reporting that “pundits are predicting almost 50,000 could turn up to see the fight” if it were hosted in Brisbane and that Brisbane remains a strong candidate to host the event on April 23rd, Arum again reiterated earlier today that the venue was not a done deal.
“It will be the biggest fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and USA,” Arum was quoted by the Sporting News Australia as saying.
Nonetheless the appeal of hosting the fight in Australia is undeniable as it would be undoubtedly be the richest ever held in Australia.
Although a relative unknown in the United States, Horn has developed a following in his homeland. Horn turned professional in 2013 and took to the sport late in life, having his first amateur fight in the summer of 2008, right about the time Pacquiao was training for a fight with Oscar De La Hoya in December of that year.
Few would have imagined the debuting amateur would someday be fighting Pacquaio and doing so on Australian soil. The 28-year old Horn holds a Bachelor of Education degree to teach secondary school from Griffith University and had previously worked at a child care center. He is also former teacher at Brisbane’s Pallara State School and is also Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk’s second cousin. But it is his personality that has won over boxing fans in his native land, who affectionately dubbed him the “Fighting Schoolteacher.”
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