Finally the fight which could have had a profound meaning to South African boxing is here when Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring tomorrow evening.
The Filipino legend will be defending his WBO world welterweight title against Jeff Horn of Australia at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Queensland.
Pacquiao could have had a different opponent in this fight had Mdantsane veteran Ali Funeka managed to derail Horn in their last clash in Australia in December.
This after Funeka fell short when he was stopped in the sixth round by the Australian thus blowing his chances of landing the Pacquiao sweepstakes.
But Funeka will be a keen spectator to the proceedings in Brisbane and he has a pretty good idea what will likely transpire in the fight.
After all he is the last opponent the relatively unknown Horn fought.
“Like I said before, this fight will depend on who wants it most,” Funeka said refusing to pick the favourite Pacquiao to win as most oddsmakers have.
Due to Horn’s less illustrious career compared to the history-making Filipino Senator who remains the only boxer to win major world titles in unprecedented eight divisions, Pacquiao is expected to easily deal with the challenger and continue his march towards his desire to rematch with Floyd Mayweather.
This fight is therefore seen as a routine business for the politician who is winding down his illustrious career. But Funeka begs to differ arguing that if Pacquiao takes matters lightly he could get a rude awakening Down Under.
“Yes Pacman has loads of experience but do not forget that Horn has youth on his side,” Funeka reasons.
And he delves into what could swing the fight to Horn’s favour.
“Horn is deceptively quick and awkward. He has the most unorthodox style I have ever encountered so Pacman could get a few surprises.”
Funeka also dissects the Hornet’s weaknesses including his softness.
In their fight Funeka dropped Horn with a body punch in the fourth round before succumbing to the right hand of the Aussie.
“I cannot really say much about his power but I can safely say he is not the biggest puncher I have ever faced although he is not feather-fisted either.”
Funeka has faced an assortment of punchers in his career and has a good idea of bonecrushers.
He survived a puncher in Nate Campbell despite the American having a weight advantage in his failed bid to annexe the IBF lightweight title.
He also soundly outboxed another relative puncher in Democratic Republican Joan Guzman before the judges robbed him of his deserved win.
He rates Horn as just below the duo in punching power.