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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Where is rematch headed?

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
05 Jul 2017



Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has confirmed a rematch clause that assures Manny Pacquiao of a chance for redemption in case he exercises his option to face newly-crowned WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn in November but the condition is it will be held at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane again, if ever.

But when asked about the possibility of a return bout in the Philippines, Horn didn’t seem to mind. In the dressing room after last Sunday’s fight, Pacquiao mentioned the alternative of bringing the rematch to the Philippines. The consensus is Horn used the so-called hometown advantage to influence the judges to score close rounds for the Australian. Arum said the judges could’ve been swayed by the cheers of the partisan fans because “they’re only human.”

Horn’s trainer Glenn Rushton opened another option for a venue, suggesting the 56,347-seat Etihad Stadium in Melbourne with a retractable roof. The arena is expandable for concerts and boxing events where ground seats may be set up. In 2012, the band Coldplay brought in 63,378 fans to the stadium.

If the rematch is held in November, writer Brent Read said the weather is unpredictable in Brisbane during the month. In Melbourne, the weather is controllable because of the roof. Last Sunday, the fighters endured the sweltering sun in open air even if it’s supposed to be winter in Australia.

“The rematch clause is for Brisbane in November,” wrote Phil Lutton in the Sydney Morning Herald. “Melbourne, with a covered stadium in the shadows of summer, has been mentioned as well.” The Philippine Arena has a capacity of 55,000 for basketball and could be expanded to 60,000 with floor seats for boxing. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was quoted as saying he wouldn’t mind returning to the Suncorp Stadium, known as the Cauldron, for a rematch because “it’s good for boxing” but the choice of referee and judges is something he’d like to chew on.

Because of the controversial decision that has been bashed all over the world in social media, there is a clamor for a rematch to settle the issue. Punch stats clearly showed Pacquiao with the advantage in terms of landed blows. Sen. Tito Sotto, who flew in to witness the bout, was dismayed. “Two words----robbed and rigged,” he said. “Manny was robbed and the fight was rigged.”

Arum said after the rematch in Brisbane or wherever, he plans to bring Horn to the US for future fights. He said boxing could use a poster-boy like Horn who’s clean-cut, tattoo-free and a Rocky Balboa live recreation. While Horn may be clean-cut, his dirty tactics in the ring belied a disrespect for the integrity of the sport. “He took every opportunity he could,” wrote Read. “He pushed the boundaries. He leaned on Pacquiao. He slung him to the ground. He grabbed him in headlocks.” To the disbelief of global boxing fans, referee Mark Nelson tolerated the shenanigans. With Horn given the license to roughhouse, he went beyond the limits of sport to assert his physicality over Pacquiao.

Even as there is no assurance that Pacquiao will be back in the ring, a source said Dubai investors are moving forward to promote a fight in November. The source said money has already been deposited to show how serious the investors are. The original plan was for Pacquiao to meet England’s Amir Khan in Dubai but with Horn’s victory last Sunday, the rematch might be an option in the Emirates.

Since the Senate will be on recess until President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on July 24, Pacquiao may take the opportunity to visit Beijing where he has been invited by the Chinese government on July 10-15. Representatives of the Chinese government called on Pacquiao over a month ago to request his involvement in promoting a big boxing card in Beijing in late September or early October. Pacquiao said he will assist in assembling an exciting card to showcase the talents of Chinese boxers with world titles, perhaps in the international or intercontinental category, on the line. He has informed WBO president Francisco Valcarcel of the plans to stage the event in Beijing. Valcarcel has assured Pacquiao of his all-out support in the effort.


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