Pacquiao-Horn II on the verge

first_imgThere has been rampant speculation about whether Pacquiao, 38, would fight Horn again or even retire following his controversial unanimous points loss to the Brisbane schoolteacher in their WBO welterweight fight at Suncorp Stadium in early July.Arum was set to fly to Manila next week to nail down the 11-time world champion on his future but told Fairfax Media from the US on Thursday a rematch by the end of the year could be confirmed in a matter of days.”I don’t think I’m going to have to go to Manila because I’ve been talking to Manny and his various representatives and Manny wants the rematch,” Arum said. “What’s holding everything up is that there is martial law in the Philippines. We have to get some firm information as to when the Senate will be in recess.”Pacquiao is a federal senator in his home country and his boxing schedule is dictated by those commitments.The Philippine Congress voted on Saturday to extend martial law in the southern part of the country to crush a rebellion by Islamic State-inspired militants.The likely window for a rematch is November.”Once we get that information I am optimistic that in the next two days we can start making all of our plans to hold the fight in Australia,” Arum said.It is a major development in the wake of Pacquiao’s loss to Horn last month – a result that sparked howls of condemnation around the world about a “home-town” decision.According to those in Pacquiao’s inner circle after the fight, he was likely to retire.Earlier this week, the Sydney Morning Heraldreporter that Horn was fishing for a fight with IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence because a rematch looked like it was on shaky ground.If Arum’s comments are anything to go by, the issue now is where the fight will be held. The Queensland government and Brisbane City Council have first and last right of refusal on any rematch if it is held in Australia.But the 85-year-old promoter, who set up fights for the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Marvin Hagler, said Sydney was an option after being lobbied by Kidman, who grew up on Sydney’s North Shore.”My friend Nicole Kidman, I was with her a few weeks ago and she said, ‘you gotta do the fight in Sydney’,” Arum said.”She was adamant to do it there. Sydney would be a great place for it. I have to confer with [Horn’s promoter] Duco Events on possible dates.”We have a first and lasts on a fight in Australia with Queensland. They were very good to us. The way it looks to me is that the fight will be in Australia. Exactly where, I don’t know.”Arum also poured cold water on claims that Pacquiao would not fight in Australia again following the controversial loss.After the fight, trainer Freddie Roach called for an investigation for the 115-113, 115-113, 117-111 scorecard. He also questioned the competency of referee Mark Nelson.”You have to think about him refereeing more fights or not, he’s maybe just not doing a good job,” Roach said at the time.”That is a WBO concern, I think they should do something about it, but I don’t think they ever will. The wrestling, getting hit behind the head a lot, it didn’t look good, but the referee didn’t pay any attention to it.”Pacquiao also backed a call from the Philippines’ games and amusement board for the WBO to undertake a “thorough review”. The WBO rescored the fight and found that Horn had won seven rounds to five.There were fears Pacquiao would never risk fighting in Australia again after Horn ambushed him in the early rounds with rough-house tactics.”No, no, I can tell you categorically there is no truth in that,” Arum said.”He was treated extraordinarily well in Brisbane. He had some dispute about the judging, that’s normal, there wasn’t a home-town decision. There is no hesitation about him fighting in Australia again.”Asked if Pacquiao would want greater say in who officiates the rematch, Arum laughed: “I think he would be foolish if he didn’t.” Photo by: PHOTOSPORT (Manny Pacquiao is set to fight his rematch with Jeff Horn in Australia).last_img

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