Pacquiao tells Roach: I have my punch back
BRISBANE, Australia—There was no promise of a knockout, but what Manny Pacquiao told him sounded like sweet music to Freddie Roach ears.
“Freddie, I have my punch back.”
For Roach, the message was Pacquiao’s subtle admission that he’d want to knock Jeff Horn out on Sunday. Something which the eight-division world champion hasn’t done in eight years.
The last time being in 2009, when he stopped Miguel Cotto in the 12th round.
Since then, all that Roach has seen was near-knockouts in the cases of Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito and multiple knockdowns in the case of Chris Algieri.
While Roach never thought that Pacquiao’s punching power was on the wane, he feels that the killer instinct is solely missing.
He’s hoping that against Horn, Pacquiao will display the same ferocity and that enabled him to knock down sparring partners in Gen. Santos City.
With his boxing stock dipping due to the three losses he suffered in his last eight bouts, Pacquiao badly needs a knockout to prove that he can still fight at he highest level.
Roach believes Horn is a prime candidate because of the Queenslander’s come-forward style and his relative lack of experience against topnotch opponent.
That Horn struggled to make weight, further reinforced Roach’s belief that he is ripe for the picking.
His main instruction to Pacquiao, according to Roach, will be to make Horn come into him, block his punches and catch him in the middle.
“Hit the body as hard as you can. Blow him up,” said Roach, noting that Horn’s lower body will be vulnerable after being devoid of food and then being bloated up.
The seven-time trainer of the year added that he’d love it if Horn’s balloons to 170 to 175 pounds as it would slow him down.
While Roach sees little chances of Horn succeeding to duplicate Juan Manuel Marquez’s one-punch knockout of Pacquiao in their fourth encounter, he is still reminding the Fighting Senator that anyone can get lucky.
So as to further lessen the probability of a stunner, Roach wants the Horn demolition job to be done in the first three rounds.
Unless, of course, Pacquiao opts to ignore the timetable and prolong Horn’s agony to entertain the record crowd of 50,000 upwards.