Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Roach expects Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn to be ‘short and sweet’

Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn went nose to nose at the final press conference to promote their fight Sunday (Saturday in the U.S.) in Australia. Photo by Wendell Alinea/OSMP

BRISBANE, Australia — Manny Pacquiao hasn’t stopped anyone in almost eight years but his trainer, Freddie Roach, thinks Jeff Horn is the guy to end the drought.

Roach, speaking from the dais at Wednesday’s press conference, said he expected the fight to be “short and sweet” if the Australian follows through with his stated plans to be aggressive and make it a rough fight.

“[Manny] doesn’t like to predict knockouts and so forth but I think it is going to be short and sweet,” said Roach, who will lead Pacquiao into battle Sunday (Saturday U.S. time) at Suncorp Stadium.

“I think it won’t last too long and someone will get knocked out.”

Roach said on Tuesday that he welcomed Horn, who appeared larger than Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) face to face, to mix it up with the eight-division titleholder from General Santos City, Philippines.

“[Horn has] won three fights in a row by knockout,” said Roach. “They’re talking about him coming to Manny and being very aggressive and dirty and rough. Sounds like a perfect scenario to me. I love when people come to Manny. When people come to Manny, he eats them up on the way in.”

Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, differed slightly in what he thought would happen on fight night.

“As much as I respect [Freddie] for his wealth of experience – he’s trained more world champions than most professional boxers have had world fights – I just think he’s wrong. Whoever’s talking about an early stoppage, I don’t see that at all,” said Rushton, the man who first put gloves on Horn when the challenger was a teenager. “I see this going deep. My vision for this fight is it will be a late stoppage. I think it is going to occur late in the fight, after all of these rounds. I personally believe this will be the fight of the year.

I do think Freddie and Manny are probably underestimating Jeff even though I know they say they are not because he is too experienced not to prepare properly.”

Pacquiao, who last stopped a fighter in 2009 when he finished Miguel Cotto to win the WBO welterweight title for the first time, looked imposing in his media workout, sitting down on hard right hooks. He stopped short of saying he expected to knock out the unbeaten Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), who is rated No. 2 by the WBO at 147 pounds.

“I don’t want to predict the fight but we did a lot. Freddie knows how I work hard. They even stopped me from training,” said Pacquiao, referring to his trainers holding him back from overworking. He adds that he ran the mountains in the scorching heat in GenSan.

Asked whether he still has his punching power, Pacquiao smiled mischievously and said, “God gave me.”

The fight is the largest in Australian boxing history, with 46,000 tickets sold, according to Duco Events Director Dean Lonergan. That eclipses the nearly 38,000 that were on hand for the Jeff Fenech-Azumah Nelson rematch in Melbourne in 1992.

Lonergan says the fight will be shown in 150 countries, while Bob Arum says he expects between 5 million and 10 million in the United States to tune in for the fight on ESPN – the first time Pacquiao has fought on basic cable in America – live in prime time.

“I can come up here today and say that this fight of Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn will be watched by more people in the United States than any boxing match since Muhammad Ali fought Leon Spinks in September of 1978,” said Arum.