Filipino five-weight world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO welterweight title against Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, in the latter’s homeland of Australia on July 2.
That fight fell through due to the date being during the Muslim month of Ramadan, which Khan observes.
“We’re not able to fight Amir Khan because of Ramadan, so we decided to take this fight in the interim,” Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said in comments published by News Corp media, reuters reported.
“We signed it, so yeah, we’re excited about it. But again, my preference was to fight Amir Khan. That didn’t work out. We had this on the table so we decided to take it.
“Manny will train and do the best he can and hopefully we get the fight over with very quickly, we get out of there, we say ‘hi’ to the Australian fans and media and come home,” Koncz said.
“Frankly and honestly, and nothing against Jeff Horn – I’ve never met the kid, I don’t know him personally – but the name recognition is I guess why the fans picked Amir Khan.’
Khan posted a ribbing tweet to Pacquiao, sarcastically wishing him well in the fight with Horn.
Horn, a Brisbane native, boasts an unbeaten professional slate of 16 wins and one draw, with 11 wins coming by way of knockout, and has won a string of fringe titles including both the WBO and IBF inter-continental belts.
Few fighters have the experience to rival that of veteran Pacquiao, who has achieved icon status in a glittering 67-fight career that has seen him win world titles from flyweight (112lbs weight limit) to super welterweight (154lbs weight limit).
He will be taking on Horn in his 21st world title fight. Pacquiao, a congressman who also currently serves as a senator of the Philippines, had previously asked fans who they would like to see him fight next via a Twitter poll of four possible opponents.
Horn came last in that poll with just 7 percent of the 44,815 votes cast. Khan garnered nearly half the votes with 48 percent. Kell Brook and Terence Crawford gained 24 percent and 21 percent respectively.
Who do you want me to fight next in the UAE?
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 12, 2017
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, who owns the Top Rank stable of boxers, also hinted that his charge could make a ring appearance in Russia, after announcing that he had received an offer of a fight there.
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