Pacquiao developments 'confusing and frustrating', says Horn
TOURING North Queensland in the tropical heat on Monday to talk about his world title fight with Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium, Jeff Horn was not dazed but he was definitely confused.
Pacquiao nailed him from all angles before Horn even knew what hit him.
Although the Queensland Government, Brisbane City Council and Suncorp Stadium are backing the proposed April 23 fight in a multi-million-dollar deal, Horn's title fight has been put on the ropes by the man who calls himself Pacquiao's "marriage counsellor".
Suncorp looked set to host Australia's biggest ever boxing bout, but Pacquaio's confidante Michael Koncz announced on the weekend in Abu Dhabi that the WBO welterweight title fight would be going to the United Arab Emirates.
Pacquiao's Twitter account also said his next fight would be in the UAE and on Monday it hinted that the opponent might not even be the Brisbane schoolteacher.
The eight-time world champ turned Filipino senator asked his supporters who he should fight next and almost half of the 11,000 respondents opted for the British former world champ Amir Khan, a Muslim of Pakistani descent.
Just 5% went with Horn.
The Brisbane schoolteacher, 29, spent a busy day in Cairns on Monday as part of a North Queensland tour designed to promote the Pacquiao fight at Suncorp.
He opened a gym, spoke at two schools and then gave boxing tips while training at a Police and Citizens Youth Club.
But all the time his head was spinning.
"It's very confusing and frustrating," Horn said.
"The fact that Pacquiao is now tweeting about different opponents is so annoying because we were under the impression that he had agreed to fight me on April 23.
"We don't even know if it's Pacquiao tweeting this stuff or if he's given control of his page to someone else.
"I'll fight him anywhere but obviously it would be awesome to have the fight in Brisbane. I think all these tweets are just mind games, a ploy for Pacquiao and his team to show me that they have all the power and they are calling the shots over the fight.
"I just want to get in the ring and show Pacquiao my power."
Horn's promoter Dean Lonergan, of Duco Events, which staged the Global Tens rugby event at Suncorp on the weekend, said the Pacquiao tweets were "concerning" but he still remained confident that the fight would go ahead at Suncorp after weeks of negotiating with Las Vegas-based promoter Bob Arum, whose first promotion was a Muhammad Ali fight in 1966.
"Manny Pacquiao is exclusively signed to a promotional contract with Bob Arum's company Top Rank, and Bob Arum's people continue to tell me to keep working on the deal (for Brisbane) and get it done. I will keep doing that until I'm told otherwise, Lonergan said.
"I have no idea why Pacquiao is doing this.
"He has an adviser/friend named Michael Koncz who apparently has struck some sort of deal in the United Arab Emirates and I'm awaiting clarification from Top Rank as to what is going on.
"But I remain confident that the fight will go ahead in Brisbane.
"The deal that has been put forward by Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane Marketing (for Pacquiao) is I think a very good offer and I am trying to get the deal done with Top Rank."
While Koncz announced Pacquiao's next fight would be in the UAE, details remain vague. There was no substantial information on the promoter, host city, telecaster or undercard.
Meanwhile, representatives of Top Rank are due in Brisbane next week to inspect Suncorp Stadium.
Duco Events has promised eight minutes of advertising on the live telecast to promote Queensland tourism to a potential audience of a billion people in 159 countries.
But Koncz told a press conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday: "I'm here with full authority and power. I have been the marriage counsellor for Manny and we have developed a relationship. I'm involved in all aspects of what he does.
"We have executed an agreement in the morning and 100% the fight will be here in the UAE."