While not many international boxing fans have heard of the fighter from Brisbane, the 28-year-old “Fighting Schoolteacher’’ has technically earned his current spot as the No. 2 contender for the world welterweight (67kg) title after defeating German boxer Rico Mueller back in October.
But seriously, has he done enough to earn the right to face the fighter known as the People’s Champ, the Philippines’ fighting pride?
Pacquiao is the first and only eight-division world champion who is widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time, while Horn is a qualified teacher and childcare worker who gave up teaching at the start of 2015 to fight full time.
Should this fight be even happening?
Yes, Horn may be a relative unknown to the rest of the world, but back home in Australia, he has been busy plowing through various belts and continuously working his way to the top.
Compared to Pacquiao, who began his pro career at the young age of 16, Horn was already 18 years old when he first set foot in a boxing gym, not to become a pro boxer, but to be able to stand up against bullies.
“It was only later on in high school we started getting picked on a little bit. Well, I did. After all that, me and my mates would muck around with boxing gloves, just have one each. I’d always do all right but there was only a few of us,” Horn told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“One of them decided to take me to a boxing gym, fairly randomly, and that was my first taste. My only other fight I’d even seen before that was a Danny Green-Anthony Mundine fight.”
Ten years later, he would be matched against a boxing legend, Australia’s “Fighting Schoolteacher’’ versus the Philippines’ “Fighting Senator”.
Currently unbeaten in 17 fights, the former Olympian has been eyeing a world title shot against all-time great Manny Pacquiao. And just four years after his impressive debut in March 2013, Australia’s brightest boxing talent will be given the chance to showcase his skills to the world.
Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, witnessed Horn’s last fight, an impressive sixth-round technical knockout victory over South African Ali Funeka last month.
“I’m hoping he was impressed with it,” Horn was quoted as saying after the fight.
Arum, who has previously signed a co-promotion deal with Horn’s promoters, Duco Events, hinted of plans of bringing him to the U.S. in 2017 to face either Jessie Vargas or Timothy Bradley, if he defeated Funeka.
Jeff Horn believes he’s ready to take on the Pacman — a wish that was granted after Pacquiao’s planned fight against champ Terence Crawford in America in April failed to push through, the Courier Mail reported.
“Manny is still a great fighter — one of the greatest boxers ever,’’ Horn told The Sunday Mail, “but I feel I have the skills to beat him. He’s 38 and I’m 28. He’s slipped a little from his very best and I think now is a great time to challenge him.
Yes, he understands that beating the Pacman this early in his career would be one hell of a worldwide introduction.
The fight, which is set to take place at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia on April 23 will be shown via free TV in the United States.