BRISBANE, Australia >> Manny Pacquiao isn’t saying it publicly, preferring not to dwell too much on landing a knockout blow.
But his trainer, Freddie Roach, isn’t pulling any punches: Roach reckons the WBO welterweight world championship fight against Jeff Horn on Sunday will be “short and sweet.”
“Manny is in great shape,” Roach said Wednesday. “He doesn’t like to predict knockouts, but I do. It’s going to be short and sweet.
“If Horn comes out likes he says he’s gonna, Manny will fire back. I think it’s going to be a great fight but it won’t last too long, and someone will get knocked out.”
Pacquiao, who hasn’t won by knockout since 2009, said he has a few strategies to handle Horn, who is unbeaten in 17 fights since turning pro in 2013. The 38-year-old Philippines senator has knocked sparring partners down in training and said he’s feeling better than he has in a while.
Roach said the training camp has been more like a vintage Pacquiao preparation.
“The thing is, in sparring, we haven’t had knockdowns and knockouts in a long time. This time we did,” the legendary trainer said. “Manny has been his old self, having fun and doing what he does best.”
The fight is being dubbed the “Battle of Brisbane” and will be staged at the outdoor Suncorp Stadium, with an expected crowd of more than 50,000.
The forecast for Sunday is for mostly sunny skies and a high of about 72 Fahrenheit, fairly standard temperatures for subtropical Brisbane in the middle of the southern hemisphere winter.
Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, believes Pacquiao’s camp has underestimated the Australian boxer by talking already about future rematches with Floyd Mayweather.
Horn’s promotor Dean Lonergan also picked up on the theme, highlighting Pacquiao’s continual attention to his cell phone during Wednesday’s official news conference and describing the 11-time world champion Filipino fighter as a “world champion texter.”
For his part, the 29-year-old Horn didn’t mind it if Roach and Co. are expecting a knockout.
“I was surprised to hear them say that, actually,” the former school teacher said. “If he’s looking for a knockout it always makes you vulnerable. If you look for a knockout, it usually doesn’t come and you leave lots of openings.”
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) said he was preparing notes on his phone and didn’t mean any offense. He rejected any suggestion he was taking Horn lightly, saying he was ready to put his WBO belt and his reputation on the line.