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Horn camp plays waiting game as wheels spin on Manny rematch

American Jesse Vargas could be given the chance to get back his WBO welterweight title should Jeff Horn’s proposed rematch with Manny Pacquiao fail to come to fruition in coming months.
Nanjing Night Net

Horn snatched the WBO belt from Pacquiao in a stunning win at Suncorp Stadium in July and the pair seemed set for a November 12 sequel after the Filipino fighter initially wanted to activate the rematch clause in their contract.

That fight now appears in some doubt, at least for this year, as Pacquiao wavers on committing to the fight, which could now be shuffled to a date in 2018 to fit in with his duties in the Philippine senate.

The delay stands as a source of frustration for Horn’s promotional arm, Duco Events, which have secured all of the required funding and planning for the fight to take place in the Australian spring.

Horn, meanwhile, has been back in the gym and wants to fight before the end of the year. Pacquiao remains the preferred opponent and it could yet come together in a hurry, with Top Rank’s Bob Arum heading to Manila to clarify the situation in the next week.

“Manny is deciding if he wants a rematch this year or next year. If he decides to postpone it, we will make a fight for Jeff in November against a good opponent in Brisbane,” Arum told ESPN.

“I imagine he has many duties as a senator, he is no longer a young guy and the last fight was very physical, and he may need more time to get ready for a rematch. We’ll know in the next few days.”

Horn was the winner of a controversial unanimous decision but, regardless of the verdict, he gave Pacquiao a torrid time in the ring, with both men bloodied and battered at the fight’s conclusion.

Pacquiao will be 39 in December and appears to be in no hurry to put himself through a draining training camp and brutal fight so quickly, particularly with a lead-in time of just over two months.

Financially, another Pacquiao bout would be by far the best result for Horn and his backers. But that doesn’t mean Australian fight fans would be served up a second-rate helping if the deal couldn’t be completed in time.

Arum has signalled he would find a strong welterweight opponent for Horn to take on, with that fight likely to again be in Brisbane but more likely to be at a smaller venue.

One candidate would be Californian Vargas, the man who relinquished the WBO title to Pacquiao when the future Hall of Famer came out of retirement in 2016.

Pacquiao beat Vargas ((27-2-0) in a unanimous decision in Las Vegas to steal the title, only to be upset by Horn a little over six months later in what would end up being one of the most memorable moments in Australian sport.

Vargas also fights in Arum’s Top Rank stable and doesn’t have an opponent booked for his next fight. Arum may see him as the perfect test for Horn as he eyes elite assignments in the welterweight division such as Keith Thurman and Errol Spence.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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