Manny Pacquiao has signed a contract to defend his welterweight world title against Australia’s Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said Tuesday as he waited for the deal’s remaining points to become finalized.
The bout will be fought July 1.
“We’re slowly finishing up the deal to fight … people have agreed on essential points,” Arum told The Times in a telephone interview from Washington.
“Paperwork takes time, particularly when it’s not the usual thing of getting it done in the United States. We’re dealing with an Australian promoter, the state government. … Here, in this case, you’ve got to cross the T’s and dot the I’s, and that’s what we’re in the process of doing.”
Arum was previously pointing 38-year-old World Boxing Organization champion Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) to a fight this month against former Olympian Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs). But Pacquiao and his manager, Michael Koncz, pushed to stage a bout in the United Arab Emirates against England’s Amir Khan.
The financing for that bout never materialized. Arum said a November date with Khan is possible.
Although Arum has been subjected to criticism for assigning Pacquiao what appears to be a one-sided bout against the less experienced Horn, 29, when unbeaten junior-welterweight champion Terence Crawford and former four-division champion Adrien Broner were in play, the promoter said there is a business strategy to the event.
Arum said the bout will take place in Suncorp Stadium, which can have a capacity of 55,000. He said he expects a sellout while inspecting the potential to bring other major fights to the continent.
“The last I knew, guys like Broner and Crawford weren’t Aussies,” Arum said. “Horn is an Aussie. There’s government behind it. They want the fight. They wanted Manny Pacquiao. Essentially, to buy the cheese, they wanted Pacquiao against this Aussie fighter.”
He said it’s premature to identify other fighters who could accompany Pacquiao to Australia on the undercard, but said he expects to place one more title fight and younger prospects on the card, which could be a self-produced pay-per-view as Pacquiao’s title victory over Jessie Vargas last November was.
That’s one of the remaining details.
“There’s nobody objecting to the deal. Everybody is moving ahead to get it done,” Arum said.