With Manny Pacquiao passing on an immediate rematch, welterweight world titleholder Jeff Horn instead will make his first defense against Gary Corcoran in December, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN on Tuesday night.
Arum, who co-promotes Horn with Duco Events, said terms of the bout have been agreed to but contracts won’t be signed until the plans are finalized for the building of a temporary facility that will seat about 8,000 for the fight in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown.
“We are clearing a location in Brisbane and once that is cleared then we can go ahead with doing the fight, which will now take place in December instead of November, which is what we were originally planning,” Arum said.
Arum said the fight probably will take place on Friday night, Dec. 15, Brisbane time with an ESPN network to carry live coverage of the bout in the United States on Saturday, Dec. 16, as part of Top Rank’s long-term deal with the network. Brisbane is 14 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time.
“We are waiting for the guys in Australia to finalize the plans for the stadium in the next day or two. They’re finishing that up and then we’ll send out the contracts, but everything is done with (Corcoran promoter) Frank (Warren) for the fight,” said Arum, adding that the Queensland government is heavily involved in bankrolling the fight, as it was when Horn faced Pacquiao in one of the biggest bouts in Australian history.
Horn won a hugely controversial decision against Pacquiao on July 2 (July 1 U.S. time) before a crowd of 51,052 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in the first main event of Top Rank’s deal with ESPN.
Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, nearly knocked out the 29-year-old Horn in the ninth round but couldn’t put him away. Still, most thought Pacquiao, who had been bloodied by multiple cuts from accidental head-butts, was the clear winner. He wound up losing the fight and his 147-pound world title by a shocking unanimous decision on scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113.
Pacquiao had the right to an immediate rematch and said he planned to fight Horn again in November, but he changed his mind because of a busy schedule with his day job in the Philippine Senate, Arum said.
So Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) is going to face Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs), 26, of England, instead in defense No. 1, with the Pacquiao rematch, or a possible fight with unified junior welterweight world champion Terence Crawford, who likely will move up in weight, possible for Horn’s first bout of 2018, according to Arum.
“If Horn beats this kid [Corcoran], we could do the Pacquiao rematch in the first part of 2018 or go right to a [Horn] fight with Crawford,” Arum said. “Pacquiao might not fight again. Who knows?”
Corcoran, who has never boxed outside of the United Kingdom, is extremely untested and a reach as a world title challenger, but he has won two fights in a row since suffering an 11th-round knockout loss to Liam Williams for the British junior middleweight title in July 2016.
“Corcoran at least will bring the fight to Horn,” Arum said.