Pacquiao vs Horn: We know it's a tune-up, Bob
Fight legend at WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will face relatively unknown contender Jeff Horn on July 2 in the latter's native Australia.
"[Horn is] a good fight to see where he's [Manny Pacquiao] at and who's gonna be next," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, recently told BoxingScene.com.
"The thing is, it's kind of a tune-up fight for us and who he has next..."
Manny's performance will be accessed and Team Pacquiao will decide who's next. Perhaps it'll be Terence Crawford or Mikey Garcia, or maybe WBO No. 4 contender Bradley Skeete of the UK?
So, is Pacquiao vs Horn a tune-up?
Answer: For the most part, yes.
Horn is 17-0 and a quality fighter but Manny boasts far more experience, has fought and beaten superior opposition, is believed to be more technically sound and ring intelligent, and is arguably the quicker and more powerful of the two. Moreover, per oddsmakers, the probability of fight legend and WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao successfully defending his title is quite high.
Manny is roughly a 1/9 favorite while his opponent, Aussie Jeff Horn, is understandably a heavy underdog at 13/2. Hence, a $900 wager on Pacquiao would yield a $100 return while the same wager on Horn would profit a bettor $650.
Pacquiao's overall likelihood of winning is roughly 92 percent.
Earlier this week, however, Bob Arum, Manny's promoter, told The Manila Times:
“No, It is not a tune-up fight and Manny knows it,” Arum told The Manila Times. “Is Terence Crawford better than Horn or I mean Horn better than Crawford? No he is not, but Horn is a formidable young guy with a big punch and he is durable. So, Manny knows that he needs to take Horn seriously."
But then Arum contradicted himself by saying:
“Pacquiao is going to fight in November and Crawford is just one of the opponents that we are talking about but we do not have any opponent yet. Absolutely, it is a fight against a guy considered to be a tough opponent, whoever he is, that’s the way we want to go.”
Pacquiao vs Horn
Date: July 2, 2017
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Champion: Manny Pacquiao
Even Bob Arum is looking to November and has hinted Crawford is a strong possibility... But Pacquiao would have to get past Horn first, right Bob?
In Bob's defense, he's trying to sell the fight. And tune-ups (obviously) don't sell as well as hot matches with a lot of intrigue. In addition, you certainly don't want your fighter looking past an upcoming opponent because he might lose focus and get too over confident in his current situation.
So yes, Arum, to a degree, is right about Horn. He's young, unbeaten and can bang. Thus, Manny shouldn't look past the Aussie and it would behoove him to be in top form.
... But it's still a tune-up Bob. And hardcore fans know it.
Tune-up or not, though, Pacquiao vs Horn still gives us a lot to be excited about.