• Pacquiao was going to exercise his rematch clause against Horn.
  • However, senatorial commitments mean he will only be able to fight in 2018.
  • Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would like McGregor as a replacement.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk did not hold back when talking about Manny Pacquiao's withdrawal from his scheduled rematch with WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn.

Horn (17-0-1 record in boxing) notably defeated Pacquiao (59-7-2 record in boxing) in Brisbane in a unanimous 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 decision victory back in July to become the new champion, with the judges' verdicts causing controversy and debate.

While "Pacman" respected the decision – although he criticised the referee – an investigation prompted by a Philippines government department was called with the WBO later stating that Horn had won fair and square.

A rematch was to be set on 12 November in Australia once again, but Pacquiao had to recently withdraw due to his senatorial commitments in the Philippines, only being able to fight in 2018.

Palaszczuk, whose government supported the rematch, was not pleased with the withdrawal and claimed that the Filipino boxer was running scared of facing Horn again.

"Frankly, I think he's a bit too scared to come and face Jeff Horn," Palaszczuk told reporters in Brisbane, as quoted on BoxingScene. "For Manny not to reappear, really says to me that he knows Jeff is the world champion."

Now a race is on to find a replacement opponent for the former school teacher with Jesse Vargas touted as a potential contender.

Palaszczuk has another name in mind who is just coming off his professional boxing debut – Conor McGregor.

McGregor most recently lost to Floyd Mayweather on 26 August via 10th-round stoppage but refused to rule out another potential boxing bout.

While the Irishman is likely to defend his UFC lightweight belt next, if the money is right, it is not out of the question to see him return to the ring and compete once again as the "Notorious" will no doubt sell out any venue across the world.

"If we could get McGregor, that would be great," she added.

Conor McGregor
McGregor made his professional boxing debut last Saturday (26 August) as he lost to Mayweather Getty