World title bout was fought on Coast boxing ring
THE Sunshine Coast had a huge stake in the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn world title fight at Suncorp on Sunday that was responsible for the Battle of Brisbane going ahead as planned.
The fight was seen by an audience of more than 10 million in the United States, with 51,000 at the stadium and more than 200,000 pay-per-view subscribers in Australia alone. Millions more saw the bout in Pacquiao's home country, the Philippines.
The former champion flies home with more than $10m in his bank account while Horn won around $1 million as well as the championship belt.
But behind the scenes were critical negotiations that went on for weeks which was to bring a humble Maroochydore boxing gymnasium to centre stage.
Fight promoter, the New Zealand-based Duco Events, considered two other options before opting for a ring much-loved by members of the Mike Foley Shamrock Boxing Club based at Maroochydore Rugby League Club.
The championship ring, Mr Foley purchased in 2002, has been the stage for a number of state and Australian titles and was also used for some of Anthony Mundine's biggest bouts.
It was stripped down and powder coated and had a canvas from New Zealand fitted with Madison Sports providing the ropes.
"It's been a great experience for our crew of 11 who put the ring up on Saturday from 7pm," Mr Foley said.
"We had it finished by 10pm. They were doing work above us on the canopy, lights and speakers. I've never seen anything like this at all.
"It was all super professionally run. They were fantastic people to deal with."
The ring is now flecked with the blood of boxing's newest world champion and that of one of the sport's favourite and now vanquished super stars.
Mr Foley says some wags suggested the ring would be more valuable now if cut up and sold as souvenirs but that won't be happening.
As for the fight he is having none of claims the former champion had been robbed of his title.
The long-serving boxing coach was ringside for the bout in a $5000 seat adjacent the card girls courtesy of Duco Events and says the judges got the result right.
"Jeff Horn won the first two rounds hands down and had only one really bad one in the ninth," he said.
"The referee came to the corner (at the end of the ninth) and told Jeff if he didn't do something immediately at the start of the 10th round the bout would be stopped.
"He came out and reclaimed the fight."
Mr Foley said both Pacquiao and Horn had been badly marked by the contest from a combination of head butts, elbows and punches.
"Jeff Horn came with a game plan to win the title," he said. "The US commentators claim Paccy was ripped off.
"I'm a Manny Pacquiao fan and I know what he can do. But Jeff didn't steal it (the title) he bullied it from him.
"For people to bag him is disrespectful. Paccy said if that's the way the judges called it that's what it is. It showed him to have been a true champion."
And Mr Foley says any rematch between the pair won't be heading south to either Sydney or Melbourne.
The next fight will be going nowhere else except back to Brisbane.