Manny Pacquiao’s global popularity is not in doubt. At all. USA Today reports how Pac Man’s upcoming July fight in Australia, against local hero Jeff Horn, has already shifted 40,000 tickets, this making it the biggest fight in the country’s history – the previous record of 38,000 tickets sold for the big super-featherweight rematch battle between Azumah Nelson and Jeff Fenech.
The stadium for Pacquiao-Horn has a capacity of 55,000 and there are expectations of a complete sell out.
“We always knew this fight would pack a punch for Brisbane,” Kate Jones, Queensland’s minister for events and tourism told USA Today. “With 40,000 tickets already sold it will be the biggest boxing crowd ever seen in Australia. The chance to see our local hero take on one of the greatest boxers of all time is an opportunity too good to miss.”
A great crowd does not always equal a great fight, though. The Nelson-Fenech war was definitely a great fight (the rematch of an equally explosive battle, scored a controversial draw the year before in Las Vegas), with African great Nelson breaking Australian hearts with an impressive 8th round stoppage win (Nelson had lingering effects of malaria to contend with in the first fight; one most fans thought Fenech won).
What can we expect on July 2? Horn, 16-0-1(11) is a hard puncher, he is unbeaten and he is hugely motivated. He is also a huge underdog. It will be a great show, hopefully a good under-card featured, and the fight should be exciting while it lasts. Freddie Roach was reportedly a little concerned over his fighter’s “sluggish” start to training earlier this week, but his mood improved as Pacquiao’s efforts did likewise.
Roach has gone on record as saying he wants to see Manny score a KO in this fight (his first since 2009) and the bombs could fly from both sides. The local hero will be pulling off a huge upset if he can win next month, but either way, Australian fight fans will be supporting their slugger.