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Pacquiao-Horn: Jeff’s trainer expects Manny to struggle

Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) will be fighting less than a month from now against little known fighter Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) on July 2 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. Pacquiao, 38, is supposed to win the fight, but there’s no telling whether he will or not. Pacquiao didn’t look impressive in his last fight against Top Rank fighter Jessie Vargas last November.

Pacquiao won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but it was a lot closer than 2 of the judges’ scores. But important than the scoring for the fight was how much Pacquiao’s game had deteriorated from the fighter we’d seen just 3 years ago against Chris Algieri in 2014. If I was to guess how much Pacquiao lost from his game, I’d say he was fighting at just 60% of what he once was. Losing to Jeff Horn will probably be the biggest indication that Pacquiao should hang up his gloves and walk away from the sport. That’s why it’s a stupid idea for Pacquiao to fight Horn. Losing to Horn means it’s pretty much over for Pacquiao, because the fans would jump ship for sure. But if Pacquiao were to lose to a good fighter like Errol Spence or Keith Thurman, there would be less fallout, because those guys have talent and are well-known in the boxing world.

Pacquiao hasn’t been the same since he was knocked unconscious by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. Pacquiao doesn’t attack like he used to, and he seems gun-shy. That was never more the case than Pacquiao’s fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015. Pacquiao looked afraid, and was scared off by Mayweather’s jab. It was too easy for Mayweather.

If Pacquiao loses to Horn, then it’s probably all over for the Filipino star. Losing to a guy with limited boxing skills and talent like Jeff Horn would be a signal that Pacquiao needs to hang up his gloves and focus on politics. Maybe we’d see Pacquiao’s 85-year-old promoter Bob Arum hurriedly throw him in with Top Rank fighters Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko in back to back fights so that he could be a stepping stone for those guys to gain more of a following in the boxing world.

I think that’s a predictable thing we could see happening. It would be a sad ending Pacquiao to be a stepping stone for Crawford and Lomatrenko to trod upon as they try and get to the next level to become PPV stars in their own right. If Pacquiao doesn’t retire at that point, I could see him being put in with Oscar Valdez, another one of Arum’s fighters in his Top Rank stable.

Horn, 29, is ranked No.2 by the World Boxing Organization. That’s probably a ranking that the Australian Horn doesn’t deserve based on the low quality of his opposition since he turned pro in 2012. Horn has fought poor opposition, and he’s looked bad in his recent fights against Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka. But, Horn may not need to be a highly talented fighter to beat Pacquiao, because he’s looking like a shell of his former self now. Horn is an underdog in this fight, but he could still win due to the aging and wear and tear that has gone on with Pacquiao’s game.

Horn’s trainer Glen Rushton believes that Pacquiao has never fought anyone like his fighter. Horn is capable of switching southpaw and showing different angles. I’m not sure that Pacquiao in his prime would be too worried about Horn, as he seems like a slightly better version of Brandon Rios, but with a weaker chin and less power. If you had Rios changing from orthodox to southpaw in his fight with Pacquiao in 2013, you’d pretty much have Jeff Horn in the ring.

I don’t’ think for a second that Pacquiao would have been terribly bothered by Rios if he’d switched to southpaw against him. Pacquiao would have continued to belt Rios around the ring without losing a beat. Horn is very average. But the things that Horn does have going for him is Pacquiao’s advanced age and the fact that the fight is taking place in Australia, Horn’s home country. We already saw Pacquiao arguably robbed in his first fight with Tim Bradley back in 2012. That fight took place in the U.S. Horn might have a chance of winning a hometown decision if he’s able to make it the full 12 round distance against Pacquiao.

“Manny has never fought anyone like Jeff,” Horn’s trainer Glen Rushton said to Courier Mail. “And Jeff is the kind of fighter who is difficult to prepare for because you never know what’s coming at you. He can turn southpaw like Manny, he can hit you with right-hand leads and he can move and fight from angles that Manny hasn’t encountered before.”

Horn doesn’t seem like a problem for a good welterweight, but he might be a problem for what’s left of Pacquiao. If this were Keith Thurman or Errol Spence, Horn would be in deep trouble on July 2. The fight wouldn’t likely make anywhere close to the cards. But we’re not talking about Spence or Thurman that Horn will be fighting. We’re talking about an aging Pacquiao, who splits his time as a senator in the Philippines. Pacquiao is an aging boxer that has seen better days, who is a part timer in the sport of boxing nowadays. This fight has the recipe for disaster for Pacquiao. I think he could lose to Horn.

It’s still surprising that Pacquiao went along with the idea of him fighting Horn. This is a fight that Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum put together. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for Pacquiao to be fighting guys like Horn with the little time that he has in his career. This fight would make sense if it took place 10 years ago before Pacquiao had become a PPV attraction, because it’s not going to sell PPV buys in the U.S.

Hardly anyone is talking about the Pacquiao vs. Horn fight in the boxing world. The fans that are talking about it seem to be dismissive of it, like they don’t know why Pacquiao ever agreed to it. Pacquiao’s last fight against Jessie Vargas brought in only 300,000 buys on PPV. This fight against Horn will be lucky if it brings in half that numbers.

It’s an all-around bad idea for Pacquiao to be fighting a guy that is completely unknown to the casual boxing fans in the U.S like Jeff Horn. Bob Arum should have least built Horn up in the U.S before putting him in with Pacquiao. Arum could have done that by feeding Horn to Terence Crawford, Viktor Postol, Tim Bradley or Jessie Vargas.

Unfortunately, I don’t think Horn would beat any of those guys, and I don’t think any of them would ever agree to fight him. Pacquiao saying yes to the Horn fight seems like a wrong-headed move just like it was for Pacquiao to fight Jessie Vargas, Brandon Rios and Chris Algieri. Those were fights that were destined to bring in low PPV numbers, and sure enough, they did in comparison to the better fights.

Pacquiao should be fighting these guys with the little time left he has in his career:

– Keith Thurman

– Errol Spence Jr

– Danny Garcia

– Saul Canelo Alvarez

– Shawn Porter

– Miguel Cotto

– Amir Khan

– Gennady Golovkin

– Adrien Broner

Fighting Horn, Vargas and Tim Bradley is such a waste for Pacquiao. The guy can do a lot better than what he’s been doing.

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