Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn: What would an upset mean for boxing?Written by Lee Cleveland
Fight legend at WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will face relatively unknown contender Jeff Horn on June 1 in the latter's native Australia.
To those outside of Australia, Horn is just another nameless, faceless "opponent" being fed to a star. And Pacquiao, of course, is a legend and a huge favorite. He seemingly has every conceivable advantage sans two - Age and location.
Will Pacquiao, at 38, get old over night? And how much will the challenger be spurred by 55,000 of his countrymen who are expended to be in attendance?
What if Jeff Horn does the unthinkable and topples one of the all-time greats?
Would an upset impact the landscape of boxing? And if so, would it be for better or worse?
A loss may force Pacquiao into retirement. And given he's one of the most popular athletes in the world and an awesome ambassador for the sport, boxing would be dealt a heavy blow because the sport has so few active mainstream stars.
Whenever Manny steps in the ring he makes history. It's a big event - And boxing needs big events.
Like him or not, boxing needs Manny Pacquiao.
Passing of the Torch
The proverbial 'passing of the torch' is more symbolic in boxing than any other sport. The young lion beats the great old pro and is catapulted to super stardom as a result. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.
It happened in these cases:
- Rocky Marciano vs Joe Louis
- Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston
- Mike Tyson vs Larry Holmes
- Terry Norris vs Sugar Ray Leonard
- Floyd Mayweather vs Oscar De La Hoya
And yes, Manny Pacquiao vs Oscar De La Hoya.
Jeff Horn, like Manny, seems to be a really good guy. He's a secondary school teacher with a college degree and is well-spoken and clean cut.
A seemingly marketable fella who isn't as 'rough around the edges' as the typical pugilist, Horn is a legitimate contender and appears to be the 'role model' type - BUT would he be able to parlay an upset over Pacquiao into mainstream success the same way PacMan did when he defeated Oscar?
Could Horn be Australia's Manny Pacquiao and have the same impact there as Manny has had in the Philippines?
And does Horn have the potential - inside and outside the ring - to be an international star who generates interest among casual fans and folks who don't even like boxing?
Can he be a powerbroker in a division of monsters?Errol Spence, Kell Brook, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse and Shawn Porter to name a few...
Pacquiao vs Horn
Date: July 2, 2017
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Champion: Manny Pacquiao
Pacquiao, like Mike Tyson, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather undoubtedly improved the overall health of the sport by enhancing its relevance in the mainstream and bringing more fans under the tent.
Whether Horn can do that remains to be seen. However, should Horn upset Pacquiao, it's safe to say the former's team would likely need some creative thinking and matchmaking to lift its fighter to an iconic level.
How would an upset impact the overall health of the sport?
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.