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Horn promoter: Pacquiao withdraws from rematch

Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao during the "Battle of Brisbane" WBO welterweight title bout in Brisbane, Australia, last July 2. Horn defeated Pacquiao via unanimous decision. | Top Rank Boxing

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao has pulled out of the planned rematch with Jeff Horn this November 12, the Australian’s promoter confirmed Friday.

In a statement sent to Philstar.com, Horn’s promoter, Dean Lonergan of Duco Events, said that Pacquiao fighting the 29-year-old Australian again in November has become impossible because of the Filipino icon’s duties in the government.

“Manny Pacquiao has decided that he will not be competing in a rematch with Jeff horn in 2017. On behalf of the Philippines government, he will be part of a delegation that will visit China in the middle of his proposed preparation period for the fight,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan and the government of Queensland have reportedly already made arrangements for Pacquiao-Horn 2 to be staged again in Brisbane, Australia. All they have been waiting for is word from Pacquiao whether the rematch is a go.

Instead, fans will have to wait until sometime next year to see Pacquiao and Horn go at it again.

“Pacquiao is committed to fighting again in 2018, and a rematch with Jeff horn for the WBO world welterweight title,” Lonergan continued.

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Philstar.com sent a text message to Pacquiao’s camp seeking comment, but there has been no reply as of posting time.

Horn defeated Pacquiao in their well-attended fight at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last July 2 to become the new WBO welterweight champion. The Filipino icon insisted he won the action-filled 12-round bout, and confirmed that he’ll exercise his rematch clause.

For his part, Horn is keen on fighting again on November 12, and with Pacquiao’s withdrawal, Lonergan said they will start seeking other dance partners for their champion.

“Until then Top Rank, Duco promotions, TEQ And Brisbane marketing will be exploring options [on Pacquiao’s replacement],” he said.

Reports from Australia claim that Horn’s camp is looking at former Pacquiao foe Jessie Vargas as a possible opponent.

Vargas, who is also promoted by Top Rank Inc., lost to Pacquiao last year in their Las Vegas fight.

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