Negotiations to secure a major international boxing match for Queensland are entering the final round, with government authorities increasingly confident local fighter Jeff Horn will take on Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao at Brisbane’s Lang Park in April.
Promoters have confirmed the pair will fight, but the venue has been a matter of negotiation, with venues in the United Arab Emirates and the US also in the mix.
A Queensland consortium, including state and council tourism and events bodies, is hoping to reach an agreement with the fight promoters and Horn and Pacquiao’s management later this week.
Horn said today he was excited about the possibility of fighting a “legend” of the sport.
“It’s more than my dreams coming true, to be honest, to fight someone like Manny, who I’ve been watching for such a long time,” he said.
“And then on top of that to fight him in Brisbane would be beyond my wildest dreams.”
Horn resisted journalists’ attempts to get him to trash-talk his opponent.
“I’m not a trash-talker, I do my talking with my fists.”
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the Government had put its money on the table and was waiting for Brisbane City Council to finalise arrangements.
Ms Jones would not say how much the State Government would chip in, but argued taxpayers would get value for money.
“We only contribute to events we think can inject significantly into the economy. It would inject up to $200 million into the Queensland economy,” she said.
Ms Jones said part of the deal would include Queensland tourism advertisements in the TV coverage of the bout, which was expected to be viewed by hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, who is Horn’s second cousin, said he was proud as punch.
“He’s a great guy and a great athlete, and we will always be very close,” Councillor Quirk said.
He said while he had not been involved in the negotiations he was confident Brisbane would secure the match.
“These events are [developed] in a cold and calculating way, they are about economic value,” he said.