It’s official: superstar Manny Pacquiao will not face Jeff Horn, the man who upset him via controversial decision in July, again this year. The return of one of the year’s biggest upsets was pencilled in for November 12, in Brisbane, Australia, with reports informing us how Pacquiao had agreed to the rematch.
But now, due to his being busy with “government duties” for the remainder of the year, the Fighting Senator will now look to box the rematch with Horn, the WBO welterweight ruler, next year some time.
“Pacquiao is committed to fighting in 2018 and a rematch with Jeff Horn for the WBO welterweight title,” Horn’s promoter said in a statement.
Horn, unbeaten and a superstar in his native Australia due to the astonishing win he scored on July 2, is expected to still fight on November 12, and a suitable replacement challenger is now being sought. One name that has been reported by various sources as being a strong possibility to get the first shot at Horn’s belt is former WBO champ Jessie Vargas.
28 year old Vargas, 28-2(10) and never stopped, last fought in November of last year when he was outpointed by Pacquiao in a WBO 147 pound title fight. Best known for this fight and for his June 2015 decision loss to the now-retired Tim Bradley (a fight that saw Vargas badly wobble Bradley in the fading seconds of the 12th and final round, only for the referee to make an error and jump in to stop the fight thinking he had heard the final bell, thus possibly saving Bradley), Vargas is a good fighter and a solid contender.
Stranger things have happened in boxing, and it is possible Vargas could take this (relatively short notice) opportunity and defeat Horn out in Australia. Horn should be commended, though, for wanting to proceed with a fight at a time when he must be terribly disappointed over how his big rematch with Pac Man has (temporarily) fallen through.
As for Pacquiao, he will be 39 by the time he next steps into the ring, turning 39 this coming December. Can the southpaw dynamo become a world champion all over again this late into his career?