Why are some fans complaining about Pacquiao-Horn?

Why are some fans complaining about Pacquiao-Horn?

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Published: June 27, 2017


Manny Pacquiao celebrating after his victory over Ricky Hatton in 2009. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Manny Pacquiao celebrating after his victory over Ricky Hatton in 2009. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – This upcoming Saturday (Sunday in Australia) Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) will head to the country of Australia to take on the undefeated Jeff “The Hornet” Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs). In an unprecedented announcement last week, the fight between Pacquiao and Horn will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. This will be the first time Pacquiao will have fought off of the pay-per-view (PPV) format since 2005. Top Rank who has promoted Pacquiao for a vast majority of his career waited patiently to announce the deal with ESPN. The announcement came on the Monday after the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev. 

On that card which takes place at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, it will feature Shane Mosley Jr. (10-1, 7 KOs) taking on David Toussant (10-0, 8 KOs) as the opener. Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (2-0 2 KOs) will face Jarrett Owen (5-4-3, 2 KOs), and IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas defending his title against Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8 KOs). The master orchestrator of Top Rank’s deal with ESPN was Top Rank President Todd DuBoef

“Manny Pacquiao has been one of the biggest global stars of his era, setting attendance and pay-per-view records for over the past decade. Now, as he defends his world title in front of yet another anticipated record crowd, he will be doing it to his biggest U.S. television audience on the world’s biggest and most prestigious network, ESPN. To have ESPN, which has treated its viewers to NFL, College Football Playoff, and NBA playoff games, add Manny’s title fight to its roster is the biggest compliment one can give to Manny’s star power and a great gift to sports fans.”
— Todd DuBoef

It is no secret that ESPN and Top Rank are both excited about the deal to showcase a fighter as popular as Pacquiao on their network. ESPN in the age of cord-cutting has faced drops in viewership over the recent years. Pacquiao’s PPV numbers sans the fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2015 have been steadily on the decline. When Top Rank announced that Pacquiao would be fighting on ESPN, it was met with excitement with the prospect of it leading to other fighters competing on the network like Vasyl Lomachenko. Also, there are rumors that Top Rank may be starting a streaming service with its library of fights similar to what World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) did with their WWE Network. There were some who degraded Pacquiao for fighting on ESPN against an opponent unknown to the American public. Former four-division world champion Adrien Broner who faces Mikey Garcia on July 29th does not seem to think Pacquiao fighting on ESPN is a positive. 

“Pacquiao need me. Pacquiao, give me a call man. Bob Arum, y’all need me. It’s not looking too good if y’all fighting back on ESPN man.”
— Adrien Broner

Those who supported fighters like Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia fighting on ESPN would be hypocritical not to support Pacquiao fighting on the network. Although Horn is not well known in the United States, he is the number one contender for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title. The fight will be the biggest fight ever held in the history of the country of Australia with a possibility of having 60,000 fans in attendance. The issue may be that many boxing fans in the United States are ethnocentric and view fights fought outside of America as second-rate. The question to ask may be if Horn was from the United States would there be so much blowback? 

Earlier this year, Anthony Joshua took on Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London, England in a fight that will be up for consideration for fight of the year. It should be considered the boxing event of the year. Many will point to this upcoming September’s bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin as the bigger event, but those involved chose to handicap the fight from reaching its full potential. The chance to put Canelo-GGG in a stadium that can fill up to 100,000 fans was squandered for the allure of the money that Las Vegas can offer. The fight itself due to the styles of both men will still likely deliver on expectations, but the idea that it is the biggest boxing event of 2017 is only brought up because the fight is taking place in America.  

Those supporting Floyd Mayweather’s return against Conor McGregor in August while degrading Pacquiao’s fight with Horn need to look no further than McGregor’s record as a boxer, which is 0-0. Pacquaio-Horn is not the best fight that could have taken place in the welterweight division and even at 38 years of age Pacquiao is a huge favorite to win. Having a fighter like Pacquiao on ESPN defend his title in front of 60,000 fans is a positive for the sport of boxing. Possibly some of the talks of a rematch with Floyd Mayweather is a constant annoyance for boxing fans, but the future for Pacquiao is unknown until we see him against Horn. Top Rank’s Bob Arum spoke with boxingscene regarding the future for the 8-division champion. 

“Look, after the fight assuming he wins – we’re going to sit with Freddie and Justin and figure out who we can put him with next. Can we put him in with an elite fighter next? I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. To say put him in with Spence or a Crawford now, without seeing him fight Jeff Horn, that does a disservice to Manny.”
— Bob Arum

While there are fans that are upset about Pacquiao facing Horn, the simple answer is just not to watch.


(Feature Photo: Top Rank and ESPN)

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