Boxing: Jeff Horn hopes Pacquiao takes him lightly in title fight build-up

Jeff Horn in action against Alfredo Blanco in the Burger King Road to the Title Fight card at The Trusts Stadium. Photo/Dean Purcell
Jeff Horn in action against Alfredo Blanco in the Burger King Road to the Title Fight card at The Trusts Stadium. Photo/Dean Purcell

Under-rated Australian boxer Jeff Horn hopes Manny Pacquiao maintains his cocky attitude towards their July 2 world title fight in Brisbane.

Auckland-based Duco Promotions has finally locked in Horn's WBO welterweight title shot at the legendary Pacquiao for Suncorp Stadium, after months of on-again, off-again talks.

Filipino veteran Pacquiao's camp were initially reluctant to fight Horn, preferring to set up a mega-dollar deal with former champion Amir Khan in the Middle East, which fell through.

The reigning WBO champ's camp said they now wanted to use the Horn bout as a quick kill to "say hi to the Australian fans and media", before heading off and preparing for another shot at Khan.

The undefeated Horn, a 29-year-old former schoolteacher, encouraged eight-time champ Pacquiao to take him lightly.

"Pacquiao and his managers sound a bit confident and cocky," London Olympian Horn said today. "It's like 'we will just take this fight, come to Brisbane, knock over Jeff Horn, make their millions and go do the Khan fight'.

"I hope he keeps feeling that way."

Horn (16-0-1 record, 11 knockouts) said he never gave up hope on the dream fight and kept training, despite the initial Khan announcement.

"It has been frustrating, but I knew how big this fight would be, if we actually landed it," Horn said. "So I had to be patient, keep training and battling along, so I could get that potential shot.

"The Middle East fight [against Khan] was heartbreaking at the time [it was mooted], but now it is finally here, I am so excited."

Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) is an eight-division world champion, but is now 38 and divides his time as a Filipino senator. He won his most recent fight against Jessie Vargas last November.

Horn said he may be little known, but believed the Pacquiao fight would let him make a name for himself.

"Amir Khan is a big name, even though he has been knocked out so many times," Horn said. "But this is my chance to make a name for myself."

July's fight is expected to pack the 52,500 capacity Suncorp Stadium and be seen on TV by 150 countries.

"Usually, I am pretty good in front of crowds, but this might be a bit different," Horn said. "I might have to see a packed Suncorp Stadium to believe it.

"It's more than a dream come true. I never thought Pacquiao would still be around when I got my world title shot.

"He is getting a bit older, I am still young. I am ready to take this shot and I am ready to take it off Pacquiao."

The world title fight was secured by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, in partnership with the Brisbane City Council and Suncorp Stadium.

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