Signed, sealed and delivered.
Finally, Manny Pacquiao has decided to sign above the dotted line and resurface in the ring against undefeated Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia.
The fight contract was signed yesterday, Pacquiao’s Canadian adviser Mike Koncz moments after the Los Angeles Times came out with a story, saying a deal has been reached for the Filipino senator to defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
The Queensland government is partially footing the bill in bringing Pacquiao to Australia in what will go down as the biggest bout ever to be held Down Under.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum had issued an ultimatum last week, warning the 38-year-old eight-division champion that skipping Horn will leave him with no choice but to wait until November for a fight to happen.
Arum had actually wanted to stage the Pacquiao-Horn slugfest on April 23 but Pacquiao and Koncz thought they had something up in the Middle East: a rich payday versus Amir Khan.
The decision to explore the possibility of fighting in the United Arab Emirates prevented Arum from getting a deal done for April, and as he had earlier feared, nothing came out with the talks when the promised $38-million purse turned out to be just a mirage.
Pacquiao (59-6-2 with 38 KOs) hasn’t fought since outpointing Jessie Vargas last November at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Horn (16-0-1 with 11 KOs) easily stopped Ali Funeka of South Africa last December in Auckland, New Zealand, with Arum in attendance.
“People (Pacquiao and Horn) have agreed on essential points,” Arum told the Times.
The Australian media reports that Pacquiao is guaranteed about $7-million to $8 million for the Horn match.
But not all is lost in the lucrative proposal for Pacquiao to fight Khan, according to Koncz, who is working to import Khan so he can meet Pacquiao in the country.
“Working on putting a deal together to fight Amir in October or November either in the Middle East or in the Philippines,” said Koncz.(N. Giongco, mb)