On July 1st (USA), former high school teacher Jeff “The Hornet” Horn (16-0-1) will step into the ring against WBO Champion Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2) in the biggest fight of his life. He will do so only four years after turning professional, with only 17 professional fights behind him. Over 60,000 rabid fans will pack into Brisbane’s sold out Suncorp Arena, nearly all of which will be backing the hometown kid. The good guy who got the opportunity most of us could only dream of, in a real life Rocky moment.
For Pacquiao there is little to be gained here. He is expected to win in convincing fashion; anything short of a knockout will be viewed as a failure. Jeff Horn is being viewed as a lucrative tune-up for a high profile PPV fight in November. Pacquiao is listed by most booking agencies as an over 4-1 favorite.
The power punching every man Horn has not let the odds discourage him. Stating that, “All I’ve pictured for myself is my hand raised and that belt around my waist. I’m not going to say I’m going to knock him out, but I can win this.”
Horn is fighting for more than just titles and a career high payday. He is fighting for Australia, a country that is not on the boxing map. He is fighting for the respect of the boxing world, and the fans and writers who have written him off too soon. A win for Horn would resurrect boxing in a country that has not had a lot to root for recently.
The fight will be aired live on ESPN in the United States and on Main Event PPV in Australia.