Horn fight on but Pacquiao camp still wanted Khan
AUSTRALIAN Jeff Horn's dream fight with Manny Pacquiao will take place on July 2 at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, the Filipino great's camp says.
It is the second time the fight has been agreed to after Pacquiao reneged on their original deal to meet in April last month as he pursued a big money bout with Brit Amir Khan in the Middle East.
"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.
"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.
"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."
After playing mind games with the undefeated Horn for weeks, Pacquiao has put pen to paper.
There were only a few "remaining points" to become finalised before the fight was officially announced.
But it's understood the Government expects to finalise the details in coming weeks.
The bout would be fought on a Sunday afternoon - 10 days before State of Origin III - to coincide with a prime-time Saturday night telecast in the United States.
The clash - for Pacquiao's World Boxing Organisation welterweight title - will be the most lucrative fight staged in Australia with promoters expecting a sellout crowd of 55,000.
Pacquiao will likely make more than $10 million from the bout which is being financially supported by the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council.
The business plan of Horn's promoters Duco Eevnts promises $200 million worth of economic benefits to Queensland with increases in tourism and a global marketing campaign for the fight.
Pacquiao was originally scheduled to defend his title at Suncorp on April 23 against Horn, the No. 2 WBO contender, but opted instead to pursue a $49 million offer made to him by a consortium in the United Arab Emirates for a fight with Khan.
While Pacquiao announced the fight in the desert was set, the purse proved to be nothing but a mirage and he came back to the original offer against Horn.
Pacquiao, 38, is expected to arrive in Brisbane well ahead of the fight for a series of press conferences across Australia.
The world champ - who is also a leading senator in the Philippines - has a record of 59 wins, six losses and two draws and is said to have earned as much as $500 million from boxing over the last 20 years.
Horn, who is undefeated in 17 pro fights after making the quarter-finals of the London Olympics, is heartened by the fact that Pacquiao has lost three of his last eight fights, was knocked unconscious by Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and has not won a fight inside the distance in eight years.
"I'm getting him at the right time," Horn said.
"He's a great fighter but he's slipped a little bit from his peak and I'm getting better with each fight."