This Saturday night, the casual boxing fans get a treat. For the 1st time since 2005, Manny Pacquiao will be fighting a non-PPV bout as he faces Jeff Horn. Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions will be presenting the event live on ESPN from Suncorp Stadium in Australia. The fight will be at a weight limit of 147 pounds and will be Pacquiao’s WBO World Welterweight Title, a title that he won in his last fight against Jessie Vargas about 8 months ago.
Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2 with 38 KOs) is one of the greats of the sport. He is a future Hall of Famer. He is a current Senator in his homeland of the Philippines. He has faced some of the top-notch fighters in the sport. Some names on his resume include Chatchai Sasakul, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, twice against Marco Antonio Barrera and Timothy Bradley, 3 times against Erik Morales, and 4 against Juan Manuel Marquez. He has fought one of the best resumes in the sport of the last 25 years.
The 38-year-old Pacquiao’s last 2 fights were against Bradley and Vargas, 2 guys that are in the top 10 welterweights in the world and beat them both soundly. With that said, there is a reason to believe, Pacquiao, is ready for the picking. It may not be against his opponent, Jeff Horn, but many believe he ready to be knocked off by the right welterweight. He is no longer a full-time boxer. It’s almost like his hobby. It’s very hard to be a sharp, elite, boxer when it’s not being done full-time, even for an all-time great like Pacquiao.
Jeff Horn is ranked #1 in the WBO. He comes into the fight with an undefeated record of 16-0-1 with 11 KOs. He’s only 29 years old. And he will have the clear home ring advantage as they will be fighting in what can be considered, literally, Horns back yard. Horn is 3-4 inches taller than Manny, but their reaches is almost identical. Horn hasn’t faced anyone significant yet and will be hoping to shock the world and knock off a guy that no one expects him to even come close to beating. This fight was given to him very similarly to how Chris Algieri got a shock at Pacquiao and this may end the same way.
To be honest, the highlight of this fight is the normal casual fan being able to see one of the best in the sport without having to shell out $60+. This was something that I suggested and was rumored, that Floyd Mayweather was going to do in what was then looked at as his last career fight, against Andre Berto. Whether this is considered a mismatch or not, being able to see Pacquiao on normal TV is good for the sport. As for a prediction for this fight, Pacquiao hasn’t stopped anyone since 2009, so the smart bet is Manny Pacquiao by decision unless you expect Horn’s corner to stop the fight early.
Manny Pacquiao doesn’t have many fights left. This may be the last chance that a great like him gets to be seen for free on TV. I suggest watching the skills that Pacquiao still possesses. The angles he throws punches from. The footwork he uses to get to those angles. Watching guys like Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather may look boring at times, but if you truly appreciate the skill that is being shown, it’s hard not to see the beauty in all their fights. So, on ESPN, on Saturday night, I suggest showing a young prospective boxing fan this fight. Show the future how beautiful the sport of boxing can be. Enjoy the fight.