There is no doubt that Jeff Horn’s victory over Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao served as a big boost to Queensland’s economy.
And a windfall, too, not only for that Australian State’s but also the whole of Australia’s tourism which is already basking in the glow of almost 17,000 out-of-state visitors who have descended on Brisbane for the weekend when the crossed paths last July 2.
This was the consensus expressed by the host government’s officials, led by Brisbane City Mayor Graham Quirk, and even Top Tank Promotion bossman Bob Arum after Horn kept his undefeated record with a unanimous, albeit controversial, win before a 50,000 crowd at the Suncorp Arena.
Arum was quoted by Australian media as saying the fight that would bring boxing back to its rightful place in global sport.” It is a transformational fight for not only Australia but the world. Even before the historic encounter, it was boing Under.
Not only, and this everybody in boxing world knows, because of the new World Boxing Organization welterweight crown –owner, but also because of Pacquiao, who, in the first place, was chosen to dance with the former schoolteacher on the merit of his immense popularity and vast drawing power.
True it was Pacquiao, the only man in the universe to crown himself champion 11 times in eight weight division, who sought that a rematch clause be part of the contract, but it is now this same clause that Horn’s camp is urging the Filipino to honor, not the not other way around. Precisely because of the potential benefits the outcome of the bout would bring.
The Pacman was willing, and is, in fact, still willing to honor the rematch and fight Horn again next month – November 12 to be exact. But had, or has Horn and the Australian fight organizers accorded him the respect he deserves owing to his status as a respected fighter and a high-ranking government official of his country — a senator at that?
Never. From the time Manny and his party arrived in the host city, everything he got from whatever he did that did not pass their criteria, were met by ridicule and insult.
Like during the final pre-fight press conference when he kept using hi mobile phone, everybody ganged up on him not realizing that as a lawmaker he had to monitor minute-by-minute what was happening in the country. When he left Manila, war had just erupted in Mindanao and a strong typhoon hit his hometown General Santos City.
During the victory parade after stashing away with the 147-pound belt, Horn poked fun at his victim to the delight of his fans.
The WBO, despite early dilly-dallying, granted Pacquiao’s plea for a review of the judges’ questionable decision but came up approving the verdict via a seldom heard of point-system of scoring without considering that 55 of 67 boing writers polled after the fight voting that Manny was the clear winner.
Many of those who participated in the survey expressed belief that the Filipino ring icon was robbed of victory.
Then when Pacquiao looked to agree with going on with the rematch came Horn’s trainer Glenn Rushton saying his camp will request drug testing to “level the playing field” because he was not satisfied with the drug-testing protocol applied in the first match.
And now that the cat is out that Manny has begged to move the rematch next year, Horn and his camp has started shopping for opponent which seems hardly to be found.
Which, according to one boxing writer is understandable. “Who,” he reported, “is a boxer in his right mind would agree to fly to Brisbane and be a victim of what Pacquiao suffered? “