Manny Pacquiao will defend his WBO world welterweight title at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia on July 2nd against Australian contender Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn.
Boxing fans will be trying to find out exactly who the hell Jeff Horn is, such is his lack of global exposure. Jeff has only been in the pro ranks since 2013 and has amassed a 16-0 record with 11 wins coming via way of KO. He has been building his career exclusively over in Australia and New Zealand.
Veteran Randall Bailey is probably the most well known name on his record but he was over 40 at the time of fighting and looked to give up midway through the contest resigning on his stool.
His most notable achievement as an amateur was to reach the quarter finals of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Without wanting to sound too direspectful this fight has the feel of an exhibition fight for Pacquiao. Horn is really being thrown in at the deep end here against Pacquiao.
Fights against the unknown Ali Funeker and a German with a padded record in Rico Meuller are simply not good preparation for facing one of the best pound for pound fighters the sport has seen in recent decades. Anything less than an impressive win for Pacquiao would have to be considered as poor on his part.
Pacquiao at 38 years of age is getting old but he is no washed up force. Although he is considered to be on the way down after the Mayweather loss, he really did not take much punishment in that fight at all. There is a sense that he is in the twilight of his career now, yet he proved in his last couple of fights against Tim Bradley and the young hungry Jessie Vargas that he is still very much an elite calibre fighter.
Horn has some good power particularly with his right hand and will need to land something of significance to gain some respect early on. However he will never have felt Pacquiao’s power before.
If Horn was developed properly and guided correctly he could perhaps be better prepared to seriously challenge an elite fighter because he definitely has good aspects to his fighting. He’s also not shy to engage which makes him potentially entertining given the right fights.
You have to ask the question whether his team are looking at a stacked division with fighters like Errol Spence Jr, Kell Brook, Tim Bradley, Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman and thinking that they will not be able to win a belt in the future.
Is team Horn cashing in now with a lack of belief in their man or are they merely throwing him into a fight in which he will gain exposure and his stock will rise even if he loses but puts up a valiant effort?