Security fears from Queensland Police have ensured boxing great Manny Pacquiao won’t make any public appearances ahead of Sunday’s world title fight with unheralded Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane.
Event promoter, Dean Lonergan of Duco Events, said Pacquiao had not received any threats but would be keeping a low profile upon advice from police after a “quite hairy” incident during his last visit.
He said police recommended that Pacquiao stay out of public view after being swamped by Brisbane fans when his location was revealed via social media while visiting for a promotional tour in April.
As a result, Horn attended a promotional training session in Brisbane’s CBD for the WBO welterweight title bout without the 11-time world champion on Thursday.
“We have had concerns from Queensland Police all week about Manny doing major promotional appearances,” Lonergan said.
“Sometimes when it comes to Manny, as we experienced the first time around [in April], he gets adulation that we haven’t seen before.
“You just have to be mindful of what the police have to say, so due to their concerns he won’t be turning up today.”
Lonergan said police did not want a repeat of April’s incident in which thousands gathered to meet their hero after being alerted via social media.
“When Manny was here last time one or two tweets went out…and he just got swamped – at one stage it got quite hairy,” he said.
“Even though we have significant security around Manny on a regular basis it was felt the safest thing to do was not bring him down here.”
Lonergan did not expect security concerns at Sunday’s title fight despite more than 50,000 people expected to pack Suncorp Stadium.
About 47,000 tickets have been sold, already making it the biggest Australian boxing crowd since Jeff Fenech’s ill-fated 1992 re-match with Azumah Nelson in Melbourne.
“There’s going to be a massive police presence at the venue, so we have no hassles from that point of view,” Lonergan said.
“Suncorp is used to running crowds of more than 50,000 people.”
Lonergan said Sunday’s fight was set to become the biggest Australian pay per view event ever.
Sales are on track to surpass the 200,000 mark, breaking the previous 190,000-plus figure set for the 2006 Anthony Mundine-Danny Green grudge match.
“Foxtel are telling us it will smash all pay per view records,” Lonergan said.