“I WILL be going home as world champion.”
This is what a bold and confident Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao declared as he left for Australia just a couple of days before his match against the undefeated Jeff Horn.
“In all my years of boxing, I have never been as motivated and fired up as this fight,” Pacquiao told AFP as he thanked the large entourage that welcomed him after arriving in his opponent’s turf.
The 38-year-old Pacquiao is set to defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title against Horn this coming Sunday, July 2, at the 50,000-seater Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
“I think this is one of the biggest crowds that I’m going to fight to. I love the fans shouting and cheering for me, or for Horn. I like that, it’s exciting,” he added.
Pacquiao, the crowd’s favorite, has been a professional boxer for more than three decades, earning eight world titles in different weight classes. He has a ring record of 59 wins, six losses and two draws.
Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Horn has a record of 16 wins and one draw, making a total number of matches to 17 since his professional debut in 2013.
Despite being nine years older, Pacquiao is confident that the age disparity won’t be a hindrance. But at the same time, he said he’s not underestimating the less experienced Horn.
“I consider him a tough opponent,” Pacquiao said. “I never underestimate my opponent. He’s undefeated, he’s young. I like aggressive fighters.”
Horn’s camp, meanwhile, is confident that the Australian challenger will dominate the ring and create a never-before-seen upset that will shock the Filipino defender.
“I have no doubt this is going to be a much better fight than we’ve seen against (Floyd) Mayweather, even (Jessie) Vargas and (Timothy) Bradley,” Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, said.
“I think we’ve eliminated all of the problems that a lot of these fighters have had,” he added.
Rushton took note they had a ten-point plan that will surely topple down the majority’s expectations.
“I’ve got a 10-point plan and Jeff is the only person who has that 10-point plan. I said to him, follow the plan and we win the fight, simple as that,” Rushton said.
Regarding Pacquiao’s next match in November, Top Rank boss Bob Arum, said the result of Sunday’s match—whether Pacquiao will be able to pull out an impressive victory against Horn or not—plays a great role in determining his next opponent.
On Tuesday, June 27, Pacquiao’s coach, Freddie Roach, said the Filipino boxing icon is still looking forward to a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In what seemed to be one of the most lucrative events in boxing history, Mayweather was declared the winner by a unanimous decision during their match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas two years ago.
“To get Mayweather, you have to look good against Jeff Horn. He has to look good, he has to be impressive,” Roach told reporters in Brisbane. “The thing is, if it happens, it happens.”
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