Boxing: Date locked in for Manny Pacquiao v Jeff Horn

Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao trains at a gym in Manila, ahead of his Nov 6, 2016 bout with Mexican boxer Jessie Vargas.
Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao trains at a gym in Manila, ahead of his Nov 6, 2016 bout with Mexican boxer Jessie Vargas. PHOTO: AFP

Manila (AFP) - Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao is to fight undefeated Australian Jeff Horn on his home turf in Australia, the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) welterweight champion's camp said on Wednesday.

The announcement of the July 2 bout ends months of speculation on who the 38-year-old Filipino dubbed "Pac-Man" would face next as he seeks to prolong a stellar career that saw him win world titles in eight different weight classes.

"We signed the Jeff Horn contract this morning. Fight is July 2 in Brisbane, Australia," Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz told AFP by text message.

Koncz said Pacquiao would be staking his WBO welterweight crown against Horn, 29.

He declined to say what the prize money would be.

Pacquiao's American promoter Bob Arum had been originally pushing for the Filipino to face Horn in Australia but in a surprise development, Pacquiao and British boxer Amir Khan announced separately in February that they would fight on April 23.

But the deal spectacularly fell through, with Arum describing the reported US$38 million (S$53 million) United Arab Emirates fight to the Los Angeles Times as "pie in the sky".

After Horn, Koncz said he was still hoping to set up a Pacquiao fight with Khan in either the Middle East or the Philippines in October or November.

Pacquiao, who has been hailed as a virtual national hero in his home country, briefly retired early last year, before winning a seat in the Philippine senate.

But the retirement was short-lived as Pacquiao, who said he missed the ring, made a successful comeback last November against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas.