BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Jeff Horn's reward for a successful first title defense since a contentious win over Manny Pacquiao could be a bout with Terence Crawford.
A failure could send him back into boxing obscurity.
Horn wants to use his WBO welterweight title defense against Gary Corcoran on Wednesday to dispel any notion that he got a hometown decision against Pacquiao in Brisbane last July. If he gets his way, it could set him up for a big 2018.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum attended Tuesday's weigh-in and said a win here "will lead to massive fights coming next year."
"I think Pacquiao is going to return to the ring. Terence Crawford will be the mandatory for this fight. The biggest building in Las Vegas is on hold for this fight," Arum said. "Going to have a tremendous year in the welterweight division and these two participants ... will be giving it their all to see who will go ahead as part of these major programs that will take place next year."
Horn, now unbeaten in 18 bouts, knows what it's like to be given no chance of beating the champion, so he is trying to think only about Corcoran at the Brisbane Convention Centre. That's not far from where he beat Pacquiao in front of more than 51,000 fans in an outdoor bout at a regular rugby venue.
"I've got until after this fight to start having discussions," he said. "He's definitely a possibility if I can manage to get through Gary first."
The Australian former schoolteacher was written off before taking on Pacquiao (59-7-2), but pressured the eight-division champion for 12 rounds in an upset that changed the trajectory of his career.
Pacquiao's camp disputed the unanimous decision, which was widely panned by critics but later confirmed after further scrutiny by the World Boxing Organization. Pacquiao had a rematch clause for the Horn fight, but so far hasn't committed to a date or venue.
Corcoran is 17-1 since turning pro in 2011 and is ranked 10th by the WBO. He is the underdog and is fighting outside of Britain and Ireland for the first time for his first world title.
Trainer Peter Stanley said his boxer would not be intimidated by the situation.
"We've fought away from home before in front of bigger, more hostile crowds against bigger boys," Stanley said. "There's nothing new here."
The buildup to the fight has been overshadowed by accusations from the Corcoran camp that Horn resorted to head-butting Pacquiao, and claims from the British-based boxer that he would resort to biting if confronted with the same circumstances. At the official news conference, one of Corcoran's trainers held up a laptop computer to show images of Horn clashing heads with opponents and later wore a cap with a glove attached at the top in a swipe at the head-butting claims.
Horn and his trainer Glenn Rushton responded by wearing caps with a pair of boxing gloves on top of earmuffs to protect from biting.
Both boxers were expecting an aggressive, walk-up style of fight.
Rushton said Horn would be furious but fair.
"It is boxing. It's not table tennis — it's tough," Rushton said. "Stop (complaining) — Jeff's one of the fairest fighters in the world."
Corcoran doesn't have a high profile, and even ring announcer Michael Buffer mistakenly called him by the wrong name at the weigh-in.
"Does it matter?" Stanley said. "He'll know his name afterward, I promise you that — he won't forget it.
"Gary's a consummate pro. He's come here to fight and win. They both made weight, they're both fit. The only difference is Jeff's got the world title and Gary wants it."
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.