One phone call likely to decide Horn-Pacquiao fate

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates after defeating Jessie Vargas in a WBO welterweight title boxing match in November.
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates after defeating Jessie Vargas in a WBO welterweight title boxing match in November. Isaac Brekken

A PHONE CALL on Thursday is likely to decide whether Manny Pacquiao will defend his world welterweight title against Brisbane's Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium this winter.

While Pacquiao and Britain's former world champ Amir Khan have taken to Twitter to announce they are fighting in the United Arab Emirates and that Horn is on the sidelines, Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum confirmed that Pacquiao-Khan is not a done deal and that Horn remains in the mix for what would be the most lucrative fight ever held in Australia.

Last week Arum told News Corp Australia that reports he had signed an agreement with Khan for the Pacquiao fight were "complete and total bulls***”.

He said as much again on Monday, repeating that no agreement had been reached.

Arum told in Las Vegas that he would meet with Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, on Wednesday.

"We're all collegial, we're all on the same team and we'll discuss what is the best move for Manny,” Arum said.

He repeated that he still hoped Pacquiao would face Horn in Brisbane but "certainly not” on April 23, which was his original plan until Pacquiao became enticed by promises of $49 million from a marketing group in the United Arab Emirates to fight Khan, a Muslim boxer of Pakistani heritage.

Arum has repeatedly voiced his suspicions that such money is a mere desert mirage.

Pacquiao and Khan were once training partners when both boxers were coached in California by Freddie Roach. The trainer claimed in 2014 that there was no reason the pair should ever fight because: "Manny frequently put Amir on the floor, knocking him cold four or five times.”

Khan was savagely knocked out in his last fight by Mexican Saul "Canelo” Alvarez.

Horn's promoter Dean Lonergan said he was still hopeful his charge would tackle the Filipino fighter turned politician at Suncorp in June or July.

"I think the chances of Pacquiao receiving $38 million to fight Khan in the UAE on April 23 are somewhere between slim and zero,” Lonergan said.

"The situation will become a lot clearer after I talk to Bob Arum on Thursday.

"So far there is still no stadium booked in the UAE and still no word on who is supplying the $38 million. It's one thing for two fighters to say they've reached an agreement but it's something else entirely to find the money, set up the promotion and all the global television deals that go with it. That takes months of planning.

"If Manny really wants to pursue a fight with Khan in the UAE why doesn't he give himself a few months to do it and come to Brisbane first for the fight with Jeff Horn? We have a very generous offer on the table with the money already guaranteed.”

The State Government, Brisbane City Council and Suncorp have formed an alliance guaranteeing multi-million-dollar support.

Topics:  bob arum jeff horn manny pacquiao

News Corp Australia

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