Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming WBO welterweight title defense against Jeff Horn won’t be on HBO nor on a Top Rank pay-per-view, but on ESPN.
In an effort to further bring more boxing cards to the network, ESPN and Top Rank announced Pacquiao vs. Horn will take place on the network in a live broadcast on prime-time on July 1. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum made the announcement on ESPN.
There had been questions on where Pacquiao's next fight will be broadcasted from. HBO, Pacquiao's long time television home, declined airing his last fight, a November 2016 win over Jessie Vargas to win the WBO welterweight title. Arum and Top Rank decided to stream the pay-per-view themselves, which roughly did about 300,000 buys. Top Rank had ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, a longtime boxing fan, do commentary duties for that fight.
The fight, which will take place in Australia's SunCorp Stadium. The venue normally seats 50,000 people, but fight officials got an exemption to increase seating for 60,000, shattering the Australian boxing attendance record.
ESPN's coverage of the fight will begin June 30 with live SportsCenter coverage of the Pacquiao vs. Horn weigh-in during the 7 p.m. ET telecast. Also, during the week of June 26, there will be several of Pacquiao's old world title fights, including Ricky Hatton, the third Juan Manuel Marquez fight and the second fight with Timothy Bradley. The fight will available on demand and streaming via the ESPN App.
The televised card will be the following:
- Manny Pacquiao (c) vs. Jeff Horn: WBO World Welterweight Title Bout
- Jerwin Ancajas (c) vs. Teiru Kinoshita: IBF World Super Flyweight Title Bout
- Michael Conlan vs. Jarrett Owen: Featherweight Title Bout
- Shane Mosley Jr. vs. David Toussaint: Middleweight Title Bout
According to RingTV.com, the ESPN/Top Rank partnership doesn't stop with the Pacquiao fight. RingTV.com reports that the network will also air the potential Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Orlando Salido that would take place on August. ESPN inked a deal with Golden Boy Promotions to broadcast numerous cards on ESPN.
The broadcast team for the Pacquiao vs. Horn card will Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas and Bradley.