Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn to air on ESPN primetime in U.S.
By Kelly Owen | Contributing Writer/Photographer
Published: June 19, 2017
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - Tipped to be the biggest boxing event in Australian history, ‘The Battle of Brisbane’ is expected to draw a record crowd of attendees to Suncorp Stadium on July 2.
The fight pairs Filipino icon, Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO), against the relatively unknown Australian, Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO). The WBO Welterweight title defense will air on ESPN in a major announcement by Top Rank Inc. Fights that would routinely be viewed on HBO or HBO PPV will now be virtually free to view. It has been suggested that Top Rank is planning to broadcast a yet unnamed series exhibiting its fighters with Pacquiao-Horn bout being the first showing.
It is expected to be followed by the redemption fight between pound for pound sensation, Vasyl Lomachenko, and veteran, Orlando Salido, which is anticipated to take place in August. It only follows that Top Rank stable mates, Terrence Crawford and Shakur Stevenson, will also be showcased in following broadcasts along with the best Top Rank has to offer. Making much anticipated matches with distinguishable boxers easily accessible to fans is a clever strategy by Top Rank and may generate some enthusiasm for the upcoming Pacquiao fight amongst a yet seemingly unconvinced international audience -- many of whom have never heard of, and are uninterested in Pacquiao’s upcoming opponent, Horn.
The former Brisbane school teacher is set to become wealthy overnight, and a household name to the Australian public. Naysayers deride Jeff Horn as being an opponent lacking the skill and experience to present a real challenge to multi-division champ, Pacquiao. Whatever the opinions, this is a fight that will alter Jeff Horn’s life beyond recognition. He will be known as the man who revived the Australian public’s interest in boxing, if only momentarily, but hopefully long enough to inspire another generation of pugilists.
In the rare chance that he defeats Pacquiao, it could be remembered as one of the most important victories in Australian sporting history. It also potentially opens an underutilized international market for new talent and new fans to boxing. So why not take the challenge? And with attendance already projected to be 60,000 spectators or more, what have Top Rank and Duco Events have to lose? Nothing, save the momentary interest of an American and British audience.
(Feature photo: Darren England)