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Roach: Pacquiao vs. Horn fight won’t last long

Image: Roach: Pacquiao vs. Horn fight won’t last long

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach doesn’t expect challenger Jeff Horn to last very long this Saturday night in the Pacquiao-Horn fight at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. Roach sees his fighter Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) successfully defending his WBO welterweight title and picking up win No.60 in front of a crowd that could be as large as 55,000 fans in Australia.

Horn, 29, has obviously been well scouted by Top Rank, so he shouldn’t be able to pull off an upset, but you never know. Pacquiao is about to turn 39, and he’s facing a young welterweight with a lot of size. The size difference between the two fighters is substantial.

Horn doesn’t have much in the way of experience though at the pro level. Horn did fight in the 2012 Olympics for Australia, but he was shown the exit in the competition in losing to Denis Berinchyk of Ukraine by a 21-13 score in the quarterfinals. Berinchyk made it to the finals before losing to Roniel Iglesias of Cuba.

“He’s a big strong kid. He’s got nothing to lose,” said Roach about Horn at the final press conference for this Saturday’s Pacquiao-Horn fight. “He’s going to bring it. I do think it’s going to be short and sweet. I think it’s going to be a great fight, but it won’t last long.”

A younger Pacquiao would likely take care of a limited fighter like Horn in 4 rounds or less. It would have been a terrible mismatch if the Pacquiao that beat Miguel Cotto was facing Horn on Saturday night. That Pacquiao is gone. What we see now is a Pacquiao that only engages in brief spurts. He lands shots and moves around and doesn’t take a lot of risks.

It’s likely that Horn will go the distance and lose by a wide score on Saturday night. It’ll be similar to Pacquiao’s recent wins over Tim Bradley and Jessie Vargas. It won’t be thrilling stuff to watch. Pacquiao will get the job done and will be successful in defending his WBO welterweight title. Roach has been predicting knockouts for Pacquiao since 2010, and he’s not come close to knocking out anybody.

Roach thinks Horn is going to put a lot of pressure on Pacquiao by attacking him early to try and get a knockout.

This is a fight that will be shown on ESPN instead of HBO or op Rank pay-per-view. It’s a DRAMATIC departure from the days when Pacquiao was always fighting on PPV in the U.S. It’s interesting the spin that Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has been putting on the fight, making it seem as if it’s a good thing Pacquiao is fighting on free television on ESPN.

I don’t think it’s a good thing, but it’s amusing to see how far down Pacquiao has been dropped from fighting the best to now defending his title against Jeff Horn. And if Pacquiao is successful, he could next be fighting another little known fighter in Konstantin Ponomarev instead of one of the talented fighters in the welterweight division like Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., or Danny Garcia.

“I think that Team Pacquiao is smart enough to choose the right kind of fights, at this point in his career at least. And they know, people are going to tune in to watch Pacquiao fight. I will,” said former Pacquiao opponent Chris Algieri to Fighthub.

Boxing fans in the U.S will tune in to see Pacquiao fight Horn because it’s on free television on ESPN. That’s the only reason they’ll tune in to watch this fight. If it was a sellable fight, Top Rank would obviously have it on HBO PPV or Top Rank PPV. Pacquiao-Horn isn’t a fight that sells to the boxing public. Top Rank has selected an obscure contender from their stable to feed to Pacquiao.

It’s not good news for the average boxing fan wanting to see a match Pacquiao and a relevant fighter like Porter, Danny Garcia, Spence or Thurman. This is the type of match-making that Pacquiao’s 86-year-old promoter Bob Arum is doing for him at this point in his career.

Horn isn’t the worst fighter that Pacquiao has fought in the last decade, but he’s probably close to being the worst. I’d put Horn in the same class as Brandon Rios and Algieri. He’s not someone that’s going to win unless Pacquiao has lost his skills due to his age and the wear and tear of his long 22-year pro career.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is doing his best to try and pump interest in the fight by pouring compliments over the head of Horn. Arum sees Horn as having a chance of winning, which is funny because he’s now shown the kind of talent that would enable him to beat even Jessie Vargas. With Horn, we’re talking about a fighter that was dropped recently by 43-year-old Randall Bailey and 38-year-old Ali Funeka.

Those are 2nd tier fighters in today’s welterweight division. Horn is struggling to beat 2nd tier guys. He hasn’t even faced his first top tier fighter. Now he’s being given a world title shot against Pacquiao. It’s disappointing. It would be good if this was a one shot thing where Pacquiao would then be fighting someone talented in his next fight, but that doesn’t appear to be happening.

Arum is talking about wanting Pacquiao to fight little known Konstantin Ponomarev in the fall in the Philippines. It looks like Pacquiao is going to be matched extra careful from this point on to make sure he keeps winning. Part of me sees it that way. You can argue that Arum is matching Pacquiao against his own Top Rank fighters just to increase their popularity.

I don’t know if it can work unless they actually beat Pacquiao. At Pacquiao’s age, even if he does get beaten, I don’t think the fighter that defeats him is going to get much of a name. Horn would be more popular in Australia, but that country is very supportive of their home grown fighters. Horn will gain a lot from beating Pacquiao by becoming hugely popular in Australia, even if he’s not taken seriously by the rest of the boxing world.

“This is a case where I saw the kid fight myself in New Zealand in the principal undercard to Parker-Ruiz event,” said Arum. “I’m telling you, this kid can fight. He’s a strong kid and he’s going to give Manny a run for his money. Is he necessarily going to beat Manny? No. But he will make it a very, very competitive fight with Pacquiao. It will be a hell of a fight.”

It’s hilarious how hard Arum is working at making this fight seem like a competitive one instead of the mismatch it is. The World Boxing Organization obviously have their reasons for elevating Horn to No.2 in their rankings, but it zero sense to me and to a lot of fans. To get a high ranking like the one that Horn has now, he should have had to beat at least 1 top contender. There’s nothing on Horn’s resume as a pro that suggests that he should even be ranked at the bottom 15 by the WBO. That’s the sad thing. If Horn had beaten someone good like Shawn Porter, then you could say he deserves a No.2 ranking by the WBO. But I think Porter would obliterate a limited guy like Horn if the two of them ever fought. It would be a mismatch.

I see this fight as more of the selling of Jeff Horn than anything else. If Arum wanted to pump up Horn, he should have thrown him in with Errol Spence Jr. this year. That would have been fun to see Horn try and fend off Spence for 12 rounds. It would have been a massacre in my view. Roach will likely be wrong with his knockout prediction for Pacquiao. But if Horn were to face a good young fighter like Spence, I think he would be destroyed right away. It would be a fight that wouldn’t go 3 rounds.

Pacquiao has the power and the style to knockout Horn if he is willing to empty his gas tank trying to knock him out. I don’t think he’s going to do that. Pacquiao seems to have been effected by his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, and he no longer appears to be willing to attack his opponents in a sustained manner for him to get knockouts. But this is a guy that Pacquiao should be able to knockout if he’s willing to let his hands go and attack him hard.

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