Jeff Horn: Next fight options post Pacquiao announcement
The rematch between Manny Pacquiao and newly-crowned welterweight champion Jeff Horn won't happen this year after all.
"On behalf of the Philippines government, he (Pacquiao) will be part of a delegation that will visit China in the middle of his proposed preparation period for the fight," local promoter Dean Lonergan said.
"Pacquiao is committed to fighting again in 2018 and a rematch with Jeff Horn for the WBO world welterweight title."
Given the WBO won't have Jeff face a mandatory contender straight away, the onus is on Team Horn to find a safe opponent with an impressive resume. With the Pacquiao superfight likely for early to mid-2018, Team Horn won't be taking any chances.
So while Jeff has called out the likes of Amir Khan, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence, chances are practically zero his team would even consider them as options.
And no, don't expect Jeff to face Lucas Matthysse, the WBO's No.2 ranked welterweight contender behind Pacquiao.
As far as next fight options for Jeff Horn, it's a time to be stingy, not bold. Keep in mind, young Horn is only 17-0-1 and his resume is devoid of top contenders, sans Pacquiao who appeared to be woefully out of sync in their bout.
That stated, as a "champion," he must face a contender or a fella with a respected name to maintain the credibility he's garnered.
Jessie Vargas is presumably being considered by Team Horn.
Jeff Horn: Next fight options
Below is the WBO welterweight ratings list
(As of 9/1/17)
CHAMPION - JEFF HORN AUST
1 Manny Pacquiao PHI
2 Lucas Matthysse ARG
3 Bradley Skeete UK
4 Egidijus Kavaliauskas LIT
5 Konstantin Ponomarev RUS
6 Taras Shelestyuk UKR
7 Giovanni Santillan USA
8 Adrian Luciano Veron ARG
9 Jessie Vargas USA
10 Ray Robinson USA
11 Gary Corcoran UK
12 Stephen Danyo
13 Carlos Ocampo MEX
14 Qudratillo Abduguharov UZB
15 Custio Clayton CAN
Our top picks
Not on the list is the UK's 23-year-old Sam Eggington (21-3, 13 KO) who is ranked No. 9 in the welterweight division and has reeled off four straight wins, stopping Frankie Gavin and Paulie Malignaggi inside the distance in the process.
Also hailing from the boxing-crazy UK, this 6'1" welterweight would give Horn a good test. At 29, he's on a nine-fight win streak and has defeated the likes of Sam Eggington and Frankie Gavin. A solid win over Skeete (27-1, 12 KO) would undoubtedly enhance Horn's brand in an important market. However, his height and range could pose problems for Jeff.
At 36, this fan-friendly tough guy successfully returned to action in February after a two-year hiatus. He's probably a little rusty but is a well-respected, action-packed fighter whose been around the block a few times having faced the likes of Keith Thurman, Victor Ortiz, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan. A Jeff Horn win over the gritty, dangerous, well-travelled Collazo (37-7, 20 KO) would raise a few eyebrows.
A solid top 10 welterweight, Vargas (27-2, 10 KO), in 2016, KO'd Sadam Ali, then one of boxing's hottest prospects. He's also gone all twelve rounds (in losing efforts) with Tim Bradley and Pacquiao in 2015 and 2017, respectively, and boast wins against Antonio DeMarco and faded versions of Steve Forbes and Vivian Harris.
Vargas is a presumed top candidate because 1) he's a solid, credible opponent who has shared the ring with some big names and 2) Team Horn likes the style match-up. Jessie seemingly isn't strong or explosive enough to knockout Horn nor skilled or fast enough to box rings around him. If Horn stays on the inside, fights conservatively and doesn't try to look like a proverbia wrecking machine, he could pound out a decision win. But if he tries to get cute or bold with Jessie, he could het KO'd.
Look for Team Horn to announce Jeff's next opponent soon. His first title defense will take place in Australia and the likely date is November 12.