MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao is set to face unbeaten contender Jeff Horn on April 23.
The fight will be Pacquiao's first defense of the WBO welterweight title he won when he defeated Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision in November. ESPN reported that the fight will take place either in Horn's home country of Australia or the United Arab Emirates, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai mentioned as possible host cities.
Horn (16-0-1, 11 knockouts) is the number two ranked contender with the WBO, just behind former Pacquiao rival Timothy Bradley Jr. The 28-year-old from Brisbane was a quarterfinalist at the 2012 Olympics and is coming off a sixth-round knockout of former title challenger Ali Funeka last month in New Zealand.
"We have an agreement with Horn but it's all subject to Manny's approval. And it's all subject to getting a site," Top Rank's Bob Arum told RingTV.
Horn's manager/trainer Glenn Rushton told Rappler that Arum and Duco Events' Dean Lonergan reached an agreement during discussions on Tuesday, January 10 (Wednesday, January 11, Manila time) in Los Angeles and that the fight was announced at a press conference in Brisbane on Wednesday.
"The fight is conditionally approved and it's just now a matter of working out where this fight will take place. Everything is in agreement as far as Manny is concerned and Jeff is concerned," said Rushton.
“We'll fight on the moon if we have to."
Horn told Rappler earlier this week that he wanted the fight to take place in his hometown, where the 52,500-capacity SunCorp Stadium is.
He also believes he can beat the 8-division champion Pacquiao, who is 10 years older at 38.
"I think I've got the advantage on the physical side because I'm bigger than Manny. He's come up from such light weight divisions," Horn said. (READ: Jeff Horn: I can beat Manny Pacquiao)
Horn will be the first fighter Pacquiao has fought in 10 years who hadn't won a world title before facing him, and is expected to be Pacquiao's first fight not shown on pay-per-view since his 2005 fight against Hector Velazquez.
Either Australia or the United Arab Emirates would be the sixth country Pacquiao has fought in after the Philippines, Japan, Thailand, United States, and China (Macau). – Rappler.com