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Battle looms over Pacquiao-Horn 2 hosting rights

A tug-of-war for the right to stage Manny Pacquiao’s rematch with Jeff Horn looms between Manila and Brisbane, Australia, as the two cities have expressed keenness in hosting the bout.

Days after Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk confirmed that the city will again be the venue for the fight. Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo made a contrasting announcement.

Speaking at the Balitaan sa Department of Tourism briefing Tuesday, Teo said she is working with Pacquiao’s camp on the possibility of holding the rematch at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan this December.

Teo said she had been in touch with Pacquiao’s business manager, 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Eric Pineda, about the DOT providing financial backing to make the fight possible.

“Just this morning we have talked to Cong. Eric Pineda. He was asking us if we could sponsor the Pacquiao fight this coming December. So we’re working on that,” the tourism chief said.

Wanda’s announcement comes in direct contrast with Quirk’s statement claiming that the 55,000-seat Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane will again be the site for Pacquiao-Horn 2.

“This (rematch) is now confirmed it will happen. I have had a meeting earlier today which has confirmed that Manny Pacquiao will definitely be in Brisbane this year for a rematch with Jeff Horn,” Quirk earlier told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, played a key role in the staging of Pacquiao-Horn last July 2, putting up a significant amount of money to meet Pacquiao’s purse demand.

Now, it appears the Pacquiao camp wants the DOT to do the same in order for the rematch to happen on Philippine soil.

In an email to Philstar.com, Sean Lawson of Duco Events — Horn’s promoter — said they were unaware of the Philippine government’s desire to host the fight.

“First I’ve heard of this. I’ll try to get a response from the Horn camp but I’m pretty sure this will be news to them as well,” Lawson wrote.

Meanwhile, Philstar.com sought a comment from one of Pacquiao’s top aides, who said he still has to consult the fighting senator regarding the matter.

Pacquiao lost to Horn last month in an action-packed fight that went to the judges’ scorecards. The Filipino icon has been insisting that he won the bout and wants to exercise his rematch clause.

Top Rank Inc. chief Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, earlier set November 12 as the tentative date for Pacquiao-Horn 2.

(D. Maragay, PS)