MANILA, Philippines – Everything is on track for the upcoming showdown between Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and unheralded Australian Jeff Horn, according to Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum.
The Pacquiao-Horn fight has been a veritable roller-coaster ride, with Arum initially saying that it was good to go earlier this year, only for the "Pacman" to thumb it down and instead pursue a bout against Britain's Amir Khan.
The proposed Khan fight fell apart, however, due to financial issues from its investors in the Middle East, and Arum again worked on putting the Pacquiao-Horn fight together. Pacquiao's chief adviser, Michael Koncz, told AFP last April 1 that they are targeting July 2 as the fight date.
"As far as I'm concerned, everything is done," Arum told Boxing Scene about the Pacquiao-Horn deal. "There are some little strings, but they don't amount to much."
The Top Rank boss nevertheless denied that he set a deadline for Pacquiao to decide on the fight, and instead explained that they only needed to inform the Queensland government that "the deal was done" by the end of March in order to secure the finances needed.
"Right now, we're finishing up all the contracts," said Arum.
There are still some lingering questions. The fight date has not been confirmed, and so far there has been no word about which network will televise the fight, or if it will be a pay-per-view affair.
Arum said that they will work on those issues once everything has been signed.
"First, we want to finalize the deal," he said. "Then, we're going to have press conferences in Australia for about a week, then we'll come back to the United States and we'll figure that out."
Pacquiao will be defending his WBO welterweight title against Horn, who despite his unbeaten record (16-0-1) has not faced a major contender in his professional career.
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