by Nick Giongco
Barely two weeks before dealing with an ambitious challenger on hostile ground, Manny Pacquiao declared that he is ready and determined to defend the world welterweight crown against Jeff Horn in Brisbane.
“I am ready to fight, ready to defend my title,” Pacquiao said from General Santos City where an Air Asia chartered flight will ferry him, hundreds of his team and family members and diehard followers this Saturday for the July 2 title fight at Suncorp Stadium.
To set the stage for his arrival in Australia, Pacquiao’s Canadian adviser Mike Koncz is heading there and is due in Brisbane tonight.
Koncz will be picked up at the airport by Dean Lonerghan, head of Duco Promotions, the New Zealand-based outfit that is staging the event in partnership with the state government of Queensland.
“By the time the team gets there, everything should be in place,” said Koncz, who is also arranging that the hotel Pacquiao is calling home for about ten days will cater to his culinary needs.
Apart from the hotel, Koncz is also inspecting the facility that Pacquiao will use as training venue beginning June 26 as the eight-division champion won’t be arriving in Brisbane until nighttime of June 24.
It is expected that Pacquiao, whose last fight was against Jessie Vargas late last year in Las Vegas, will attend church service the day after his arrival.
Pacquiao will have an open media workout on June 27, attend the lone press conference on June 28, grace a gala luncheon on June 30 with a bevy of luminaries of the sport and appear at the official weighin on July 1.