Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division world champion and the only sitting Senator to capture a world championship belt, will add another first to his burgeoning list of Hall of Fame-caliber accomplishments with his live debut on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (also streaming live on the ESPN app) on Saturday, July 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET.
The fight will be called ringside by ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. They will be joined by guest analyst Timothy Bradley, Jr., a former two-division world champion recently trained by Teddy Atlas who has met Pacquiao three times in the ring, winning their first match in a decision. ESPN Deportes will pair Jorge Eduardo Sanchez and Juan Manuel Márquez to call the main event in Spanish, with prefight commentary from Pablo Viruega, Leopoldo Gonzalez, Claudia Trejos and Juan Manuel Márquez.
Pacquiao, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s reigning Fighter of the Decade, will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against undefeated No. 1 contender and Brisbane’s favorite son Jeff “The Hornet” Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. This will be the first time Pacquiao has not fought on pay-per-view since Sept. 10, 2005, when he stopped Hector Velazquez in the sixth round — 12 years and four weight divisions ago.
ESPN’s coverage of “The Battle of Brisbane” will begin on Friday, June 30th, and includes live coverage of the Pacquiao and Horn weigh-in at 7 p.m. ET within SportsCenter on ESPN and within Golpe a Golpe on ESPN Deportes. During the week of June 26, classic Pacquiao fights will also be available on demand and streaming via the ESPN app, on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes, including Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton (5/2/2009), Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez (11/12/11) and Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley (4/12/14).
The July 1 telecast will also feature Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs), from Belfast, in a six-round featherweight bout against Jarrett “Juarez” Owen (5-4-3, 2 KOs), of Brisbane, and International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight world champion Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas (24-1-1, 16 KOs), of Cavite City, Philippines, defending his title against top-rated contender Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8 KOs), of Kobe, Japan. The live telecast will open with an eight-round middleweight rumble between Shane Mosley, Jr. (10-1, 7 KOs), of Pomona, Calif. and son of former three-division world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley, and David Toussaint (10-0, 8 KOs), of Canberra, Australia.
Saturday, July 1st on ESPN and ESPN Deportes
9 p.m. – 10 p.m. ET: Top Rank Boxing:
Undercards & Main Event Preview
– Shane Mosley, Jr. vs. David Toussaint
10 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. ET: Top Rank Boxing: Main Event
– Michael Conlan vs. Jarrett Owen
– Jerwin Ancajas vs. Teiru Kinoshita
– Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff “The Hornet” Horn
Sunday, July 2nd on ESPN Deportes
12:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. ET – SportsCenter
“Working with Top Rank on a match normally seen on pay-per-view is a significant moment for ESPN and for boxing fans,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “This fight, along with ESPN’s in-depth programming surrounding the fight, joins Wimbledon, Home Run Derby and the ESPYs in a stellar early July programming lineup.”
“The world has followed amazing Manny since he burst onto scene in his U.S. debut in 2001, where he knocked out Lehlo Ledwaba to win his second of a record eight division world titles. We are excited that ESPN will air this fight throughout the U.S. in both English and Spanish. It’s going to be an unbelievable event,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum.
“Manny Pacquiao has been one of the biggest global sports stars of his era, setting attendance and pay-per-view records for over the past decade. Now, as he defends his world title in front of yet another anticipated record crowd, he will be doing it to his biggest U.S. television audience on the world’s biggest and most prestigious sports network, ESPN,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “To have ESPN, which has treated its viewers to NFL, College Football Playoff and NBA playoff games, add Manny’s title fight to its roster is the biggest compliment one can give to Manny’s star power and a great gift to sports fans.”
Promoted by Top Rank® and Duco Events, in association with MP Promotions, “The Battle of Brisbane: Pacquiao vs. Horn” is expected to attract a sellout crowd of 55,000 fans, eclipsing the previous Australian record of 38,000 set on March 1, 1992 when Azumah Nelson stopped Jeff Fenech in the eighth round to retain his World Boxing Council (WBC) super featherweight title. The battle between the two Hall of Famers took place at Princes Park in Melbourne.
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), a former two-term congressman, was elected to a Philippine Senate seat in May 2016, capturing over 16 million votes nationally. An international icon, Pacquiao is the only fighter to win eight world titles in as many different weight divisions. A three-time Fighter of the Year and the reigning BWAA “Fighter of the Decade,” Pacquiao’s resumé features victories over present and future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley. From 2008 to 2010, five of his seven victories were world title victories in five different weight classes, ranging from 130 to 154 pounds. No active boxer has sold more live tickets in the U.S. than Pacquiao, who is also credited with over 18 million domestic pay-per-view buys. After his disappointing unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on May 2, 2015, a world championship fight that generated a record 4.5 million pay-per-view buys and over $400 million in television revenue alone, a healthy Pacquiao (he had suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder during the fourth round of the Mayweather fight) returned to the winner’s circle on April 9, 2016, winning the rubber match against five-time world champion Bradley. In a battle of Top-10 pound for pound fighters, Pacquiao sent Bradley to the canvas twice en route to a dominant 12-round unanimous decision victory. On Nov. 5, Pacquiao regained the WBO welterweight title for a third time when he shellacked the once-defeated defending champion Jessie Vargas via another dominant 12-round unanimous decision. Pacquiao has been trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach since 2001.
Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, enters the fight of his life having won his last three battles — all in 2016 — against Ali Funeka, Rico Mueller and Randall Bailey, inside the distance. They had a combined record of 105-14-4 when he fought them. The 2012 Australian Olympian’s background belies the warrior he has become inside the ring. Well-schooled inside and outside the ring, Horn received his Bachelor of Education degree from Griffith University and taught high school Physical Education even as he embarked on his professional boxing career. He began boxing at age 18 after being picked on by bullies and has been an advocate of anti-bullying campaigns. Immensely popular throughout Australia, Horn, 29, has become a national gate attraction in his own right. Selected the Australian Boxer of the Year in 2015, Horn is trained and managed by Glenn Rushton, the only trainer he has ever had, and assisted by former WBC super welterweight world champion John “The Beast” Mugabi.