Make or break for Horn
BRISBANE, Australia (AP):
Jeff Horn's reward for a successful first title defence since a contentious win over Manny Pacquiao could be a bout with Terence Crawford.
A failure could send him back into boxing obscurity.
Horn wants to use his WBO welterweight title defence against Gary Corcoran today to dispel any notion that he got a hometown decision against Pacquiao in Brisbane last July. If he gets his way, it could set him up for a big 2018.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum attended yesterday's weigh-in and said a win here "will lead to massive fights coming next year".
"I think Pacquiao is going to return to the ring. Terence Crawford will be the mandatory for this fight. The biggest building in Las Vegas is on hold for this fight," Arum said. "Going to have a tremendous year in the welterweight division and these two participants will be giving it their all to see who will go ahead as part of these major programmes that will take place next year."
Horn, now unbeaten in 18 bouts, knows what it's like to be given no chance of beating the champion, so he is trying to think only about Corcoran at the Brisbane Convention Centre. That's not far from where he beat Pacquiao in front of more than 51,000 fans in an outdoor bout at a regular rugby venue.
"I've got until after this fight to start having discussions," he said. "He's definitely a possibility if I can manage to get through Gary first."
The Australian former schoolteacher was written off before taking on Pacquiao (59-7-2), but pressured the eight-division champion for 12 rounds in an upset that changed the trajectory of his career.
Pacquiao's camp disputed the unanimous decision, which was widely panned by critics but later confirmed after further scrutiny by the World Boxing Organisation. Pacquiao had a rematch clause for the Horn fight, but so far hasn't committed to a date or venue.
Corcoran is 17-1 since turning pro in 2011 and is ranked 10th by the WBO. He is the underdog and is fighting outside of Britain and Ireland for the first time for his first world title.