Manny Pacquiao’s career might be winding down but he should have more than enough to school the ‘Fighting Teacher’ Jeff Horn and record a stoppage win on Sunday.
The PacMan is embarking on a world tour as he bids farewell to the sport of boxing before moving in to politics full-time in his home country of the Philippines.
First stop on the tour is Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, where up to 60,000 fans are expected to attend in the hope of seeing one of the biggest sporting shocks in recent memory.
Stepping up to take on the eight-weight world champion and one of the best ever to lace up a pair of gloves is the unbeaten Australian Horn, whose biggest victory to date came last December when he stopped South Africa’s Ali Funeka.
That improved the Hornet’s record to 16-0-1, with 11 of his victories coming via knockout.
Having never fought outside of the antipodes as a professional or challenged for a world title, it is fair to say that Horn could well be out of his depth.
Since his short-lived retirement, PacMan has captured the WBO welterweight championship with a points win over Jessie Vargas, producing a sharp performance that night in Las Vegas.
Horn’s camp are desperate to suggest that at 38 Pacquiao is past it though, while he has also been accused of underestimating his opponent. The Filipino certainly looked disinterested at the press conference, spending the entire event on his phone in a move which angered his opponent.
Even if Pacquiao is looking beyond Horn, and he has mentioned trying to tempt Floyd Mayweather in to a lucrative rematch in the build-up, he should still have enough to defeat a man who, up until recently, was spending his day-to-day life as a teacher in Queensland.
The gap in class and the eagerness to catch Mayweather’s eye could lead to Pacquiao recording his first win via stoppage since he dropped Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Pacquiao might not possess the power he once had but his accurate and speedy fists should start to take their toll on Horn the longer the fight goes on.
The Australian is known as a banger and Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach admits he is wary of the power the 29-year-old can boast, although it would seem unlikely he gets close to stopping his illustrious opponent.
Pacquiao has admitted retirement is a possibility if he does lose this one but we are not expecting his world tour to come to an end after one stop. The PacMan to win it late on is the fancy here, with Pacquiao 15/2 to stop the home favourite between rounds 10 to 12.
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