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Pacquiao begins training with Roach

Freddie Roach Manny Pacquiao


By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) has started his official training with his longtime trainer Freddie Roach as of last Sunday to get ready for his July 2 title defense against fellow Top Rank fighter Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. Roach wants to have the 38-year-pold Pacquiao spar 70 rounds in getting ready for this fight. The Pacquiao-Horn fight will be televised on Top Rank pay-per-view on July 2.

Pacquiao will be sparring with Australian George Kambosis Jr. in getting ready for the Horn fight. He should give Pacquiao some good sparring to get him ready for what he’ll be dealing with when he gets inside the ring with Horn.

Pacquiao and Roach worked out on the mitts for 10 rounds on Monday. Pacquiao was said to have put in around 3 hours. Pacquiao needs to be in shape for this fight because he’s facing a younger fighter in 29-year-old Horn. Pacquiao wasn’t overwhelming in his last fight against former WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas last September in winning a 12 round unanimous decision. Pacquiao didn’t gas out in that fight, but he wasn’t throwing sustained combinations like he’d been known for in the past.

If Pacquiao doesn’t have that part of his game any longer then he’s probably not going to beat any of the good welterweights. I’m not sure if Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is going to be putting in with the good fighters. The one guy that Arum seems to be interested in matching Pacquiao against is Terence Crawford, one of the 86-year-old promoter’s fighters. Pacquiao and Crawford could be facing either later this year or in 2018. I’m not sure if that’s a fight that Pacquiao wants, but it might be the only decent money fight that will be offered to him. If Pacquiao says no to Crawford, then it will be fun to see who Arum matches him against. Vasyl Lomachenko would be a likely option possibly presented to Pacquiao for an in house fight.

Does Pacquiao have enough left to beat Jeff Horn?

The magical question that some boxing fans have is whether Pacquiao has lost enough from his game for a guy like Horn to beat him. We don’t know. If this fight had taken place before Pacquiao lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. two years ago, it would be an easy question to answer. The Pacquiao from 2014 beats the brakes off of a limited fighter like Horn. It wouldn’t even be a fight. Horn is slow, easy to hit, and his chin is not very good obvious. Horn has been getting knocked down by old fighters that he was supposed to run over in Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka. But, Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter he was three years ago, and he did not look good in his last fight against Jessie Vargas.

Whether Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum attempted to shop the Horn fight to HBO for PPV would be interesting to know. It’s such a bad fight on paper that it would be surprising if HBO rejected the fight as being too of a lackluster match-up for have it shown on their network. It’s the third straight less than spectacular fight for Pacquiao. In the Filipino star’s last two fights he’s been put in with Arum’s fighters Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley.

The U.S boxing fans weren’t too excited about those two match-ups for Pacquiao, because they failed to purchase the fights in big numbers. Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley 3 brought in 400,000 buys and Pacquiao vs. Jessie Vargas pulled in only 300,000 buys. That total was the lowest number of buys for a Pacquiao fight since he fought David Diaz eight years ago in 2008. It kind of tells you something when Pacquiao’s PPV numbers are deteriorating in going from 400,000 to 300,000. It can’t be that Pacquiao isn’t still popular. I think it’s a situation where Pacquiao isn’t being put in compelling fights any longer.

Where does Pacquiao go if he loses to Horn?

A loss for Pacquiao to Horn puts the Filipino star in a bad position in terms of his future outlook. Horn is not very good, and he would likely be bounced around the ring by the better welterweights like Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Kell Brook and Keith Thurman. If Pacquiao loses to Horn and decides he doesn’t want to retire, then the options for him could be limited. Of course, Pacquiao could insist on Arum matching him against popular fighters outside of the 85-year-old promoter’s Top Rank stable. But if Arum drags his feet on doing that, then Pacquiao could finish out his career as stepping stone for guys like Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko to take his scalp in fights that would likely not generate a lot of PPV buys.

Even if Pacquiao beats Horn on July 2, a fight between him and Crawford or Lomachenko would not be fights that excite the casual boxing fans. Crawford and Lomachenko have not established themselves as stars with the casual boxing fans. Those two are even below Gennady Golovkin in popularity, and we’ve already see him flame out in his 2 PPV ventures on HBO. It’s not easy to become a PPV star in the U.S. Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was able to become stars after many years. The reason they become popular was because of their blazing hand speed and exciting fights. Crawford and Lomachenko aren’t that fast, and their fighters are often technical battles.

Horn is a power puncher with Olympic experience in the 2012 Olympics. As a pro, Horn has fought and beaten Randall Bailey, Ali Funeka and Rico Mueller. Horn didn’t look great in any of those fights. Indeed, Bailey and Funkeka both knocked Horn down. Horn got up and was able to beat the two aging former world champions. These were good fighters back in the day. You can argue that Bailey and Funkeka are better fighters than Horn can ever hope to be. But these guys are old now and fighting above their best weight classes. Funeka is 39 and spent much of his career at super featherweight and lightweight. He wasn’t young enough and big enough to deal with Horn. Bailey is 43, and a former two division world champion with one-punch power. It’s not surprising that Bailey was able to knock Horn down on the seat of his pants. Horn’s other big win in his short 4-year pro career came against Ahmed El Mousaoui.

Pacquiao and Horn will be fighting in front of a sold out Sun Corp Stadium, with over 50,000 boxing fans. This crowd is going to be fully behind their fighter Jeff Horn. Fighting in front of a career-high crowd could make things difficult for Pacquiao if Horn is able to land some big shots early on. We could see a very motivated Horn give Pacquiao fits on July 2, and make it a close enough fight to possibly edge him on the scorecards. A win for Horn would turn him into a wealthy man in Australia, because of the chances for endorsements and other big fights. He would be a PPV star over there. That’s why Pacquiao has to take Horn seriously, because this is his Super Bowl on July 2. It might be just another fight for Pacquiao, but it’s definitely not for Horn.


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