Atlas: Horn would become 'national hero' with win over Pacquiao

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BRISBANE, Australia — Defeating Manny Pacquiao will make Australian Jeff Horn an “instant national hero”, says legendary trainer and ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas.

Horn, 29, is fighting for the WBO World Welterweight title at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Sunday (AEST) and has yet to be defeated in his four-year-old professional career (16-0-1). However, he faces a mammoth challenge in the form of 38-year-old Filipino legend Pacquiao.

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Atlas says he admires Horn as not only a boxer but also as a person and believes the Australian will be set for life should he step out of the ring victorious.

“He is a tough, gritty, son of a gun. He’s a terrific person and he’s done really well to be undefeated and represent Australia at the Olympics,” Atlas told ESPN. “If he wins, oh my god, he becomes an instant national hero. His name will be known around the world and he will be known as the guy that beat Manny Pacquiao.

“He will always be able to get into a restaurant anywhere he goes, if he plays golf, he won’t need to worry about tee times.

“There will be some people that will say Manny wasn’t the same Manny but at the end of the day he will be elevated to a status that he probably only ever wished he could get to.”

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Despite the praise for Horn, Atlas doesn’t expect the former high school teacher to trouble the far more experienced Pacquiao, who is fighting in Australia for the first time in his career.

Pacquiao has lost three of his past seven fights and has not knocked someone out since Ricky Hatton in 2009 but appears to be in good form as he prepares for the Battle of Brisbane.

“If he is going to break this [knockout] drought this would be the one,” Atlas told ESPN. “Horn is a little available and Manny has so much more experience and physical ability. I can see him stopping him in the middle to late rounds.”

The fight takes place at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, no earlier than 1:30pm (AEST).

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