Pacquiao vs Horn 2: What happens if Jeff loses in November?Written by Lee Cleveland
Manny Pacquiao is interested in executing his right to an immediate rematch with Jeff Horn but will forego the "immediacy" part.
Due to his obligations in congress, Senator Pacquiao cannot commit to fighting in November and has deferred his return bout with Horn until 2018 leaving Team Horn is in a precarious state.
Jeff must defend his title this fall and, as a champion, must face a contender or a fella with a respected name to maintain any semblance of the credibility he's garnered.
So, what's the problem?
Team Horn must do some maneuvering. They need an opponent for Jeff who won't threaten Horn's superfight rematch with Manny as a Horn loss would take a lot of the juice out Pacquiao vs Horn 2 and might even prevent it from happening.
So, what if the unthinkable happened and Horn, much to the dismay of Manny Pacquiao and Top Rank, lost in November?
A Horn loss is something the promoters should be considering because there are a lot questions still unanswered about Horn, leaving to us to ponder, "Are there any safe top-level opponents out there?"
Let's not forget..
In Round 3 last year in his fight with then 42 year old Randall Bailey, a past his prime former WBO junior welterweight and IBF welterweight titleholder, Horn suffered a perforated ear drum compliments of a right hand that was ruled a knockdown. To his credit, Jeff weathered the storm and his superior body work broke Bailey down, forcing the latter to retire on his stool prior Round 8.
A Horn loss in November would create several scenario options:
1.Pacquiao comes back to face a title-less Horn for the revenge factor and the retires.
2.Manny faces the new champion, attempting to regain the WBO title and retire as a champion.
3.Manny fights twice, and rematches Horn after lifting the title from Jeff's conqueror.
4.Pacquiao immediately faces Horn's conqueror, losses and retires without facing Jeff in a rematch
5.PacMan says, "Forget it! I'm done."
I doubt we'll see No. 5 as Manny seems hellbent on fighting again.
What makes Horn so intriguing is that's he's undefeated and still an unknown quantity. Yes, he defeated Pacquiao but that wasn't the same Manny we're accustomed to seeing.
Maybe Horn, somehow, didn't allow the real Pacquiao to manifest that night?
Pacquiao vs Horn 2 is interesting for those reasons and because some bad blood between the camps following Horn's controversial win. The outcome piqued the interest of a lot of people and put Horn on boxing's radar. Now, fight fans and those living in Jeff's native Australia want to know what'll happen should the rematch take place.
Is Jeff Horn the 'real deal?'
Was Manny simply off his game?
How much ring prowess does Manny have left?
One thing is for sure; If Horn is exposed in November, much of the excitement for Pacquiao vs Horn 2 will be dulled. If he's KO'd in a one-sided affair, there would be little interest in a rematch as fans would insist Jeff (controversially) defeated a woefully out of sync version of Manny. However, should Horn drop a decision verdict in a knockdown, drag-out affair, there would still be a chance for a rematch.
Should Horn lose, Pacquiao's next steps would depend on who Jeff lost to and how he lost.
For example, if a British fighter defeats Horn, expect Manny to follow the money and fight Horn's conqueror in the boxing-crazed United Kingdom where everyone there would tune in.
It'll be interesting to see who Horn faces in November. (Jeff's Horn next fight options)
Worst possible scenario
Jessie Vargas is presumably the lead candidate to winn the Jeff Horn Sweepstakes. Should Horn vs Vargas happen and Jessie wins, it would create a huge conundrum for Top Rank because Manny decisively defeated Vargas less than a year ago and a lot of casual fans wouldn't be interested in seeing Pacquiao vs Vargas 2. After all, their Nov 2016 bout only garnered between 300 and 350K buys so Manny accepted "pennies" (relatively-speaking) for that fight or Top Rank took a hit.
Prior to Manny's fight with Jessie Vargas last year, Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum told Bev Llorente of ABS-CBN North America News Bureau that Pacquiao's guarantee would be a lot less for the fight due to the way his deal was structured:
"No, he is not earning $20 million. He is earning a lot less because…he is fighting largely on percentage. So hopefully the Filipinos, the Mexicans fight fans support the fight so he can make $20 million or more."
A possibility might still exist where Manny decides fighting again simply isn't worth it.
Message to Team Horn
Remember that the old boxing saying: "Just win this one and look good next time."