BRISBANE, Australia — Manny Pacquiao won't box Jeff Horn in a rematch of their WBO world welterweight title fight this year because the Filipino senator will be busy with government duties.
Pacquiao's unavailability for a proposed Nov. 12 bout was announced Friday by Australian promoters of the fight.
Horn beat Pacquiao in a contentious unanimous decision in Brisbane on July 2. Pacquiao at the time said he wanted a rematch.
"On behalf of the Philippines government, he (Pacquiao) will be part of a delegation that will visit China in the middle of his proposed preparation period for the fight," local promoter Dean Lonergan said. "Pacquiao is committed to fighting again in 2018 and a rematch with Jeff Horn for the WBO world welterweight title."
American contenderJesse Vargas, a former world title holder, could possibly take Pacquiao's place for a fight later this year against Horn, the promoters said. Pacquiao beat Vargas in a unanimous decision last November in Las Vegas.
A week after his loss to former schoolteacher Horn, Pacquiao said he still disagreed with the unanimous decision that resulted in him losing the welterweight title, despite an independent re-scoring of the fight confirming the unheralded Australian's win.
The WBO said in a statement then that three of the five independent judges who scrutinized the bout awarded it to Horn, one awarded it to Pacquiao and one scored it a draw.
The review concluded that Horn won seven rounds to Pacquiao's five. The fight took place before 51,000 fans at an outdoor stadium in Brisbane.