WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn is gearing up for his first big US fight.
WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn is gearing up for his first big US fight.

Awkward Pacquiao twist in Horn’s American dream

JEFF Horn could be reunited with old foe Manny Pacquiao by fighting on the same card for his upcoming title defence against pound-for-pound superstar Terence Crawford.

And, in an awkward twist ahead of the biggest fight of the Australian's career, it's not clear who would be given top billing.

Horn's welterweight world title defence against unbeaten American Crawford is likely to be confirmed soon, but it may not happen in Las Vegas as first planned.

The bout was slated for T-Mobile Arena but it's now looking more likely to happen at New York's historic Madison Square Garden - potentially a week earlier than planned on April 14 (April 15 AEST)

The issue is the new Las Vegas NHL team, the Golden Knights, are sitting in first place and likely to make the playoffs, causing a possible scheduling clash.


Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn during their Brisbane bout in July last year.
Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn during their Brisbane bout in July last year.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has also revealed he's ooking to book Pacquiao's much-anticipated return to the ring on the same card.

The Filipino legend has not fought since his shock loss to Horn in Brisbane last year.

Arum suggested Pacquiao's involvement in the card would determine whether Horn-Crawford would be part of an pay-per-view card or televised on regular ESPN in the US.

And he made clear that Pacquiao would not play curtain-raiser to Crawford and Horn, possibly hinting at a shared main event.

"Pacquiao don't fight on undercards. The ESPN guys know how to market and present events and they know how this will be handled," Arum told ESPN.

"It won't be an undercard. It will be something very unique and when we do it, it will be appealing to everybody involved.

"(Crawford-Horn) is virtually done. It's not signed yet, but we hope it will be in the next week."

While it's not yet clear who Pacquiao could fight in his return, Arum claimed the eight-time world champion was pushing for a top-level fighter to prove he's still able to beat the best.

Pacquaio has reportedly even called out pound-for-pound megastar Vasyl Lomachenko but the Ukrainian's manager has rubbished suggestions that fight could happen.

"We are not fighting Pacquiao. Manny Pacquiao is calling out Lomachenko, who is three weight classes down the scale from him. Manny Pacquiao is 147 pounds and he's calling out Lomachenko, who is 130 pounds. That's insane," Egis Klimas told ESPN.

Meanwhile, Arum elaborated on the scheduling clash that could see Horn fight in New York.

"It (T-Mobile Arena) is a very popular arena, it's doing extraordinarily well and they have a contract with the hockey team which sells out and everything. So they got the league (NHL) to move a perspective date for the playoffs," Arum told boxingscene.com.

"Nobody knows who's going to be in the playoffs, yet, it's only half the season. But if they are, the league said,'there's no way we'll give Las Vegas a home game on the 14th (of April) because they have a Justin Timberlake concert they wanted to go with.

"So they, AEG, are reluctant to go to the league again and also clear the 21st. So they couldn't assure us that the 21st would be clear and therefore we're looking at the 14th at Madison Square Garden."

Horn has also been linked with Anthony Mundine - who scored a KO victory over Tommy Browne on Wednesday - but any hope of the all-Australian bout happening likely rides on Horn's fate in the US.

Horn will get another look at a possible future welterweight opponent when unbeaten IBF champion Errol Spence takes on fellow American Lamont Peterson in New York on Sunday (AEDT).

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