The fighting senator from the Philippines is 38 years old now, and he’s a lawmaker first and fighter second.

But Manny Pacquiao still has it when it comes to global popularity and ability to sell an event. His fan base remains as loyal as ever, through retirement and subsequent return to the ring, and his upcoming fight in Australia will clearly show that.

Pacquiao’s July 2 welterweight title fight in Brisbane, against local boxer Jeff Horn, who teaches school by day, has officially become the biggest boxing match ever in Australia after ticket sales surpassed 40,000 this week for their fight at Suncorp Stadium, according to Kate Jones, Queensland’s Minister for Tourism and Major Events.

“We always knew this fight would pack a punch for Brisbane,” said Jones. “With 40,000 tickets already sold it will be the biggest boxing crowd ever seen in Australia.”

With exactly a month to go before the fight, Jones said it has the potential to host a record Suncorp Stadium crowd of 55,000 fans.

“The chance to see our local hero take on one of the greatest boxers of all time is an opportunity too good to miss,” Jones said. “The event will pump more than $23 million into local business and show off the best of Queensland to a massive global audience, with spectators from 150 countries expected to tune in.”

The current record crowd for a boxing match in Australia is 38,000, when Azumah Nelson from Ghana beat Australian Jeff Fenech in Melbourne 25 years ago for the WBC super featherweight title.

Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), an eight-division champion and current WBO welterweight titlist, won his belt last November after his unanimous decision victory in Las Vegas against Jessie Vargas. This is his first defense.

The 29-year-old Horn (16-1, 11 KOs) is coming off a TKO victory against Ali Funeka in December in New Zealand.

Also on the Top Rank card is former Irish Olympian Michael Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs) making his third start against Australian Jarrett Owen (5-4-3, 2 KOs), along with the IBF super flyweight title fight between Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (26-1-1) and Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1).

Top Rank’s plan for televising the event in the USA has not yet been announced, but a decision is expected soon.

Source: Bob Velin| US Today