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Return of the King: Senator Pacquiao plans four-bout farewell world tour

The legendary boxer in his role as senator. Will he be able to wear both hats this year?

Manny Pacquiao will have to box clever to meet his senatorial responsibilities with plans for a four-fight farewell tour this year.

His promoter Bob Arum said: “We plan to have Manny fight four times this year – we have an offer in Russia in July, another offer in Europe for September and in the U.S. against [unbeaten two-belt junior-welterweight champion] Terence Crawford in November or December. That will be Manny’s last fight.”

Already, the 38-year-old welterweight has confirmed a fight with Australian Jeff Horn on April 23.

It has also been announced by promoter Eddie Hearn today (Wednesday, January 11) that talks are underway for a bout with Britain’s Kell Brook at some time later in the year.

Although the venue for the Horn fight is yet to be confirmed, promoter Duco Events said today that it could be in one of Australia’s major cities, possibly Horn’s hometown of Brisbane. Alternatively, venues in the Middle East or the United States are being considered.

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“The preference for all parties is for the fight to be held in Australia, and we are working towards this outcome,” said Duco director Dean Lonergan, who met with Top Rank chief Bob Arum this week to confirm the fight.

Arum said he wanted the fight to be held at an outdoor stadium. The fight will be broadcast in about 160 countries, timed to be shown at a prime-time Saturday night slot in the USA on free-to-view television.

“I would expect 3,000-4,000 Filipinos to fly from the Philippines for this fight down under,” Arum said. “It will be the biggest fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and USA.”

It is a nine-hour flight from Manila to Brisbane.

Horn (16-0-1) is a 28-year-old former schoolteacher who fought at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He is ranked at number two by the WBO in his weight division. Pacquiao is the WBO champion in that division while also sitting in the senate.

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Horn said: “I feel in his last few fights I’ve seen some weaknesses that he has and I just think I can get those. I can beat him because I can see those weaknesses, I know Glen (his trainer, Glen Rushton) can see those weaknesses.”

Mr Rushton said it would be a “tragedy” if the fight took place anywhere other than Brisbane. “We really hope the Queensland government and so forth will feel the same way. It just makes sense, but also for the future. This can reinvigorate boxing in Australia.”

Horn’s last fight was a knockout of South African veteran Ali Funeka in Auckland, New Zealand in December.

The fights are likely to help the PNP reach its crime targets for 2017. As we describe here, during Pacquiao’s fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr in May 2015, there were no recorded crimes within Metro Manila whatsoever. The same phenomenon was noticed during his fights against Chris Algeiri in 2014 and Juan Manuel Marquez in both 2008 and 2011.