Brisbane - Jeff Horn's reward for a successful first title
defence since a contentious win over Manny Pacquiao could be a potential 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 on Wednesday 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 on Tuesday'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
programs 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
"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 Organization. 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.
Trainer Peter Stanley said his boxer would not be
intimidated by the situation.
"We've fought away from home before in front of bigger,
more hostile crowds against bigger boys," Stanley said. "There's
nothing new here."
The buildup to the fight has been overshadowed by
accusations from the Corcoran camp that Horn resorted to head-butting Pacquiao,
and claims from the British-based boxer that he would resort to biting if
confronted with the same circumstances. At the official news conference, one of
Corcoran's trainers held up a laptop computer to show images of Horn clashing
heads with opponents and later wore a cap with a glove attached at the top in a
swipe at the head-butting claims.
Horn and his trainer Glenn Rushton responded by wearing caps
with a pair of boxing gloves on top of earmuffs to protect from biting.
Both boxers were expecting an aggressive, walk-up style of
Rushton said Horn would be furious but fair.
"It is boxing. It's not table tennis - it's
tough," Rushton said. "Stop (complaining) - Jeff's one of the fairest
fighters in the world."
Corcoran doesn't have a high profile, and even ring
announcer Michael Buffer mistakenly called him by the wrong name at the weigh-in.
"Does it matter?" Stanley said. "He'll know
his name afterward, I promise you that - he won't forget it.
"Gary's a consummate pro. He's come here to fight and
win. They both made weight, they're both fit. The only difference is Jeff's got
the world title and Gary wants it."