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The View from Down Under – Pacquiao and Horn set for “Battle of Brisbane”

This weekend’s WBO welterweight boxing title fight in Brisbane is set to be one of the biggest bouts ever held on our shores, and will be televised to more than 150 million viewers worldwide.

Australia’s Jeff Horn, who is a former school teacher, has the chance to make his mark on the world stage against future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao on Sunday afternoon Australian time.

Many pundits had believed that Pacquiao wasn’t taking the fight seriously, but according to trainer Freddie Roach, who has trained 49 world champions, the 11-time world champ still has the electric glove work to dominate the undefeated Horn, and silence the full-house crowd of 50,000 at Suncorp Stadium.

The bookmakers agree with Roach, and have installed the 38-year-old Philippine star as a $1.20 (-500) favorite, with the Aussie, who will be fighting in his home city, at $4.75 (+375).

To put that into perspective, the odds for the Aussie to come out on top are roughly the same price Conor McGregor (a boxing novice) is paying to defeat 49-0 Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

A Pacquiao decision is $1.95 (-105), while a Horn knockout is at the juicy odds of $6 (+500). If Horn can get the job done, he’ll be the toast of the nation, and although he’s only going to get $200,000 for this fight — versus Pacquiao’s $10 million — he’ll stand to earn much more worldwide, if he can inflict just the seventh loss of the Filipino’s incredible 68 pro fight career.

The following day, the attention of the Australian sporting public turns to the grass courts of London when The Championships get underway at the All England Club.

Roger Federer skipped the French Open to prepare for the event, and that move seems to have paid off. He won a record ninth title at the Gerry Weber Open in Germany over the weekend, and looks on track for his eighth Wimbledon title, which would also be a record.

He’s a $3.25 (+225) favorite, ahead of local hope Andy Murray and French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who are both at $5 (+400), while the best Aussie hope is Nick Kyrgios at $26 (+2500).

In the women’s draw, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova are battling it out for favoritism, at around the $6 (+500) mark. Interestingly, the latter has never made it past the second round at this tournament, but is coming off a semifinal appearance at the French Open.

There is plenty of other sporting action taking place over the weekend, including the 15th round of the AFL season, a season which continues to produce a plethora of surprises.

Last weekend’s action was the tightest round of football since 1987, with four games decided by under a goal (six points). We can only hope this week is half as good as that.

Round 17 of the NRL is highlighted by Friday night’s clash between the third-place Brisbane Broncos and the first-place Melbourne Storm. Despite the match being in Brisbane, the Broncos don’t have a good home record in this fixture, and are currently a $2.20 (+120) underdog, with the visitors at $1.68 (-147).

In Rugby Union, all eyes will be on Wellington, New Zealand, for the second Test between the All Blacks and the British and Irish Lions.

This series is one of the most time-honoured in the 15-man code, with four nations — England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland — coming together once every four years to tour to either of the three Southern Hemisphere powerhouses, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.

They have a combined population of 66 million, and while the Kiwis have only four million, they were able to beat them 30-15 in the opening Test, and are heavily favored to do so again this weekend, at $1.14 (-714), with the visitors at $6 (+500).