The negotiation for the fight between World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight cham-pion Manny Pacquiao and hard-hitting WBO intercontinental welterweight champion Jeff Horn in April is moving fast according to the promoters of the two boxers.
Duco Promotion’s Dean Lonergan said that he met with Top Rank Promotion head Bob Arum on Tuesday to bring Pacquiao’s title defense fight to Australia.
“We’re all working toward getting Manny Pacquiao to fight Jeff Horn in Australia,” Lonergan told The Manila Times via overseas call on Wednesday (Tuesday in Las Vegas). “Jeff Horn is firm as the No. 1 contender.”
“We are now sorting out the best venue and the best deal that we could secure for both fighters,” he said. “I’m very much confident of securing the fight. I think we’re very close to making it sure that this fight happens in Australia and I’ve got no doubt that in two to three weeks everything will be okay.”
Lonergan, who will return to New Zealand within the week, said the Pacquiao fight would probably be one of the greatest sporting events to ever happen in Australia.
“This will be the biggest fight in Australian boxing history. Pacquiao is loved not only by the boxing fans but all over the world including Australia and that’s one of the greatest sporting nations in the planet. We have a deal at the moment. We already agreed in principle and to some other things,” he added.
“The fight could be held in the east coast of Australia and we already talked with various sponsors in Queensland, Victoria and Wales that the fight will be secured in the Australian soil,” Lonergan said. “We’re expecting 40 to 50 thousand people to fill the venue.”
The possible venue for the fight is the 52,000-capacity Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
He said the bout would feature Australian fighters since Australia is known for a vibrant boxing scene. At the same time, Lonergan also believes the Filipinos in Australia and New Zealand would love to see Pacman fight in the Down Under.
“It will be a fantastic for Manny Pacquiao’s career,” he said. “There are 250,000 Filipinos living in Australia and there are 60,000 or 70,000 Filipinos living in New Zealand, but I’m also expecting lot of Filipinos to come to Australia once Pacquiao fights there.”
Lonergan said that the only thing missing now is Pacquiao’s approval. But he is confident that Arum would convince the fighting senator to fight in Australia.
“I’m confident that Bob Arum will get the deal done with Manny’s approval,” he said.
Horn, 28, holds an undefeated 16-0-1 win-loss-draw record with 11 knockouts against the 38-year old Pacquiao’s 59-6-1 with 38 knockouts.
Arum will be flying to Manila anytime soon to present the details of the contract to Pacquiao.
“Once I get everything put together I will get Manny’s approval and talk with him sensibly there in Manila. Well why he (Pacquiao) wouldn’t sign the contract if it’s a good deal,” Arum said in a separate interview.
Arum added that a Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch would not happen this year. “There’s no indication that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be coming out from retirement this year,” he said.