By: Sean Crose
In what has proven to be a stellar year for the sport of boxing, many fans of the sweet science were hoping Manny Pacquiao would help wrap things up in style via a November rematch with Jeff Horn, who bested Pacquiao by extremely controversial decision last summer. That, however, doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. The highly anticipated fall throwdown is a no-go due to the fact that Pacquiao, a Filipino senator, will be unable to push his governmental duties aside long enough to get the fight in. Rather than fighting Horn on November 12th, the planned rematch date, Pacquiao will be among other Filipino delegates visiting China.
Horn was a widely unknown, yet undefeated, Aussie welterweight when he met Pacquiao in his homeland early last July. Surprising many with his performance, the gritty – some would say dirty – Horn, stunned the world by winning Pacquiao’s WBO world welterweight title with what many believe was a hometown decision. Pacquiao, however, is at the point in his career where another controversial loss (he was stunned by the judges in his first go round with Tim Bradley back in 2012) won’t much impact his reputation or monetary potential.
Still, the lack of a rematch smacks of unfinished business. Pacquiao, however, is said to wish to rematch Horn next year. Whether a second battle between the two men is feasible or not remains to be seen. It would most certainly be lucrative, however, if it took place in Australia, as the first fight did. For Pacquiao-Horn went down in front of 50,000 fans in Brisbane and was a big ratings hit for ESPN, which broadcast the event live on Fourth of July weekend. Pacquiao, who is no longer the pay per view star he once was, couldn’t have asked for more (except, of course, a win).
In the meantime, however, Horn may face a foe far less popular than Pacquiao. Indeed, word is out that the new champion may make his first defense against former Pacquiao victim Jessie Vargas, who Pacquiao easily bested last year.
Although Horn-Vargas might prove to be an interesting fight, it doesn’t have the built in appeal that a rematch with Pacquiao would. The Filipino legend is an international celebrity, after all. And, as last week’s Mayweather-McGregor fight proved, name value alone can greatly elevate a fight in the public consciousness. Pacquiao, however, is obviously on the downside of his illustrious career. He didn’t look particularly impressive against Horn, no matter how one felt about the decision, and it seems time is assuring his days in the ring are winding down. The clock may be ticking.