TRAINER Freddie Roach has set Manny Pacquiao a task. He must defeat Jeff Horn in style on July 2 and reinvigorate his pay-per-view audience to earn the rematch with Floyd Mayweather he wants.
Roach warned that Horn “can derail us really badly”.
“Manny’s in a must-win situation. He wants a rematch with Mayweather. To get Mayweather he must look good against Jeff Horn. He has to look good, he has to be impressive,” Roach said.
He revealed, “It’s the first time we’ve had two knockdowns in training camp [for a while], we haven’t had that in maybe six years. I’ve been waiting for that for a while now. So he’s a lot more explosive than usual and Manny at one time he was a real puncher and a gunner and so forth.”
Pacquiao didn’t dwell for too long on the prospect of fighting Floyd Mayweather a second time. “If there’s a chance, why not? I’m willing but let’s focus first on this fight. We don’t want to underestimate Horn thinking about another fight. This fight is not done yet,” Pacquiao said. “I just focused on this fight, not anything on future fights or future plans.”
Once upon time Pacquiao was an unknown challenger stepping up for a world title. He insists that’s why he’s been working hard for this. He understands Horn’s attitude. “That’s why for this training camp we worked hard, because I know what he is feeling. Being there, being the underdog,” he said. “We’ve had a good training camp for the fight. My team are very happy with our training.”
Pacquiao is hoping Horn will take an aggressive approach to their fight. “What I wanted from opponents before was to be aggressive and come inside. What I didn’t want is boxers like Floyd Mayweather’s style moving around,” Manny said. “I’ve prepared for different techniques, whatever his techniques are going to be in the ring, I’m ready for that, either aggressive or moving around.”
While Pacquiao now juggles his boxing with being a senator in the Philippines, Jeff Horn is a schoolteacher. Manny had a warning of his own for him, threatening to teach him a lesson: “He’s a teacher. Also I’m a teacher in the ring so…”