by Dennis PrincipeFor the second time in his illustrious career, Manny Pacquiao will be facing someone who underwent a delicate medical procedure that involves implanting plates in a sensitive body part.
The 29-year-old Jeff Horn of Australia, Pacquiao’s upcoming opponent, has a titanium plate inside his throat which was inserted after a freak boxing accident February of last year.
Horn suffered a fractured thyroid cartilage when he was hit by a left hook by light heavyweight amateur bet Simon Cooper during an intense sparring session.
But in an exclusive telephone interview with The Bulletin/Tempo, Horn’s trainer Glenn Rushton assured that his ward has been given a clean bill of health almost immediately after that surgery.
“We got medical clearance on it. Obviously it always there so it’s a worry. It’s one of those things like anyone who got a medical plate, it’s always a concern,” said Rushton “You have to live and do what you are born to do and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
In 2003, Pacquiao’s match opposite Mexico’s Marco Antonio Barrera almost hit a snag after it was revealed that the Mexican superstar had a metal plate screwed inside his skull when an abnormal vein was removed from his head in 1997.
Barrera, however, was cleared to fight and went on to campaign the next eight years since the 2003 disclosure.
“That was a challenge we had to overcome that and it took a lot of preparation and certainly a lot of long talks with Jeff after that. We got to a point where he became mentally and physically ready,” said Rushton.
Meantime, Horn (16-0-1, 11 knockouts) has apparently fully recovered from the injury, proof of which was his three-fight win streak after the implant procedure.
In fact, it took only two months after the operation before Horn came back see action where he stopped former world champion Randall Bailey of the United States via 7th round TKO April of 2016 in Brisbane.
“That’s the character of Jeff Horn, he is a determined and competitive man and he showed a lot of courage after that,” added Rushton. “The titanium plate is still there by the way but it’s just one of those battle scars.”
Horn will try to snatch the World Boxing Organization (WBO) crown from Pacquiao when they meet in a 12-round bout on July 2 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.