Boxing’s Cinderella Man and Brisbane, Australia’s favorite son, Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, returns to the ring in the first defense of the world title he won off the legendary Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) will be risking his newly-minted World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Top-10 contender Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs), of London. It will be the Brit’s first fight outside the United Kingdom. The Horn vs. Corcoran world welterweight championship fight will take place on Wednesday, December 13 at the Brisbane Convention Centre and will be televised live and exclusively at 6:30 a.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
“Jeff Horn not only produced the upset of the year in boxing, he also authored the story of the year, defeating Manny Pacquiao, under enormous pressure, in front of a record hometown crowd of over 51,000 fans,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who witnessed the fight from a ringside seat. “Jeff wasn’t just poised, he was prepared and powerful. Now Jeff faces his first test as world champion, against Corcoran, and it should be a helluva battle considering both men love to fight coming forward.”
“With Horn vs. Corcoran, ESPN is thrilled to add another marquee Top Rank on ESPN match right after the historic Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux bout on December 9th,” said ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus. “Horn is a rising superstar in the world of boxing, and with the seminal ratings success of the Horn-Pacquiao fight coupled with his performance in the ring that day, he has a large and growing fan base.”
Horn, a former high school physical education teacher and 2012 Olympian, captured the world’s imagination when he upset the heavily favored Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, winning a gritty unanimous decision in front of over 51,000 fans at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on July 1. Horn, a 12-to-1 underdog, didn’t let the moment or Pacquiao intimidate him. He pressured the defending champion and backed him up throughout the 12 grueling and exciting rounds. In addition to becoming a world champion Horn also became the toast of two continents.
ESPN’s live telecast of the July 1 Pacquiao vs. Horn world championship event (10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET) averaged a 1.6 household rating and 2,812,000 viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast on cable TV since 2006 and ESPN’s highest-rated boxing telecast since 1995. “The Battle of Brisbane” was also the highest-rated boxing telecast on ESPN’s networks since 1995.
The WBO World Welterweight Championship main event between Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) and Horn (midnight to 1 a.m. ET) peaked during the final half hour of their fight with 4.4 million viewers across both networks.