PERTH, AUSTRALIA – After Debbie, Queensland is getting ready for Manny.
Forget cyclone Debbie which battered most of Queensland for days, leaving a trail of destruction. Brisbane woke up to a brighter day on Friday with news that will bring the biggest boxing fight in the history of the sport Down Under to its shores.
Yes, the long wait could be over.
The fight between Brisbane’s very own Olympian and schoolteacher Jeff Horn and Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is in the works.
In a few days, expect the final announcement. But before that is made and while Brisbane heals itself from the destruction of Debbie, give Jeff Horn a pat on the back, even an applause for his patience.
Indeed, Horn has sent that message across too clearly - patience is a valuable virtue. After all is said and done, the undefeated Brisbane fighter is going to land his prized bout against Pacquiao after all.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Friday that the fighting Philippine senator is expected to sign a deal to fight at Suncorp Stadium, reportedly on July 2.
Last January, Horn was announced as the next Pacquiao foe and the fight was slated for the 50,000-seat Suncorp Stadium on April 23.
For some reason, the fight was suddenly obliterated by an announcement by Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz and by a tweet from Pacquiao himself that a fight with British boxer Amir Khan is being cooked up for mega card in the Middle East.
What followed was a tiresome saga as the Pacquiao camp pulled out of a bout against Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) in April to chase that multi-million dollar fight in the UAE against former stablemate Khan.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank insisted it is him, not Koncz, who will determine the next Pacquiao fight. Koncz said he had the deal closed and the date set.
Horn kept mum all those times. And Arum did the work. He gave the WBO welterweight champion an ultimatum to take on No. 2 contender Horn, which he must grudgingly accept or stay inactive until November, when he has his next break from political duties.
Now we know who’s the boss.
Pacquiao and the Canadian Koncz will have to take the deal.
The fight with Horn is now set in motion in what will likely be the biggest fight ever staged in Australia. A crowd of 50,000 at the famous rugby league cauldron would be no surprise.
"We are finalizing the terms," Koncz was quoted as telling Philippines a news website in the Philippines when asked about the Horn fight.
The Herald reported that the latest development “stands as an absolute initial win for Horn, the London Olympian who has been biding his time in the gym waiting for news of the fight, the purse of which has been backed by Events Queensland and the city council.”
The Herald reported that even a decent performance will send Horn's stock skyrocketing, while Pacquiao has everything to lose against a younger and hungrier opponent, who also happens to be co-promoted by Arum along with Kiwi group Duco Events.
The fight is expected to be confirmed in the coming days, while thousands of Pacquiao fans have been tipped to congregate in Brisbane when their fighter arrives to begin final preparations.
Meantime, the rehab works for all of Queensland is on high gear and this latest news should uplift the people's spirits.