NOT so fast, Brisbane.
The Philippines is seriously bidding to bring here the projected December rematch between boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and reigning champion Jeff Horn for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown.
The Department of Tourism announced the grand plan on Tuesday after meeting with a key Pacquiao representative on the possibility of holding the title match here, five months after Horn dethroned the Filipino great via unanimous decision at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
DoT secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said during a press conference that she sat down with Congressman Eric Pineda of 1Pacman party list about the agency coming in as the lead group in helping stage the Pacquiao-Horn rematch.
Pineda is a close friend and longtime business manager of the 38-year-old boxer and senator.
“Congressman Eric Pineda came over and asked us if we could sponsor the Pacquiao fight this coming December,” Teo disclosed.
Negotiations are still ongoing, although both parties are looking at a December 9 schedule, possibly at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Marilao, Bulacan.
The development came just a day after Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the Pacquiao camp confirmed interest in a rematch, which could possibly be on Nov. 12 also in the same Australian City where Horn emerged victorious last July 2.
The fight contract has a rematch clause for Pacquiao to exercise, and Brisbane has again emerged as the frontrunner to host the return bout which Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is looking for a Nov. 12 playdate.
But with the Pacquiao camp seeking the help of the DoT about bringing the fight here, Brisbane could find its hands full in a possible bidding war for the staging of the rematch.
Teo refused to disclose how much it would entail hosting the championship bout.
“Huwag na muna, medyo malaki,” she said. “We’re still in negotiations.”
But she assures the government won’t spent too much in hosting the fight as the DoT will look for possible sponsors to take care of the financial aspects, including the purse of both fighters.
“Will make sure na walang gastos yung government. We will look for sponsors,” added the DoT secretary.