Manny Pacquiao is set to return to the ring for the first time since winning the WBO welterweight title from Jessie Vargas when he takes on relative unknown Australian boxer Jeff Horn. Horn has the chance to shock the world and beat Pacquiao in front of tens of thousands of his fellow Australians.
Below is Fightful’s preview of “The Battle of Brisbane” between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title.
What's at stake:
For once in these fight preview articles, it's not just the fighters who have something at stake. ESPN, who is broadcasting this fight, is starting to get back into the boxing game with Golden Boy Promotions holding cards on the network. For the sport of boxing to continue thriving, ESPN has got to hope for a very good viewership turnout. It's on primetime television on the East Coast with no major competition threatening it.
Boxing's popularity has seen a steady rise as of late, but it can longer be successful on the HBO/Showtime platforms. With PBC's success on the major networks (Fox, CBS, NBC) being mixed at best, ESPN can serve as the next television home for the sport for mainstream audiences now that rumors circulating that the network might also broadcast Vasyl Lomachenko's next fight. But this ESPN/boxing experiment will only work if Pacquiao and Horn will bring a large enough viewership on Saturday.
As for the boxers, there is plenty at stake. For Pacquiao, his legacy is already set in stone, but with recent comments made by Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach now has the boxing community speculating about a potential rematch with Floyd Mayweather. In order for that rematch to stand a chance of happening, Pacquiao not only has to beat Horn, but beat him in convincing fashion.
Horn has the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him. In front of more than 50,000 rabid fans sitting at the SunCorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, a record-breaking crowd for a boxing fight in Australia, Horn has the opportunity to upset Pacquiao and win his first world title. Horn is a large underdog heading into this fight and this is a humongous step up in competition fighting an all-time great. Beating Pacquiao could potentially make him one of the sport's next superstars at 29 years old. It's essentially a no-lose situation for him, but he could win a lot by beating Pacquiao in Australia.
Where to watch:
The fight card, which will take place at SunCorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, will be broadcasted on ESPN, starting at 9 p.m. ET. Here's the main televised card (ESPN, ESPN Deportes [Spanish-Language Broadcast], WatchESPN, 10 p.m. ET):
- Manny Pacquiao (c) vs. Jeff Horn: WBO Welterweight World Title Bout
- Jerwin Ancajas (c) vs. Teiru Kinoshita: IBF Junior Bantamweight Title Bout
- Michael Conlan vs. Jarrett Owen: Featherweight Bout
Here's the televised undercard (ESPN, ESPN Deportes [Spanish-Language Broadcast], WatchESPN, 9 p.m. ET):
- Shane Mosley, Jr. vs. David Toussaint: Middleweight Bout
Tale of the Tape:
Record: 59–6–2 (38 KO)
Notable wins: Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Zab Judah
Record: 16-0-1 (11 KO)
Height: 5′ 9″
Notable wins: Randall Bailey, Ali Funeka
Betting Odds (from Bovada):
Manny Pacquiao: -600 (favorite)
Jeff Horn: +400 (underdog)
Fightful will have live coverage of the ESPN broadcast as well as a post-fight podcast immediately after the ESPN broadcast ends with Carlos Toro and Steven Muehlhausen.