Credit to Author: Tempo Online| Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2019 16:00:52 +0000
by Nick Giongco
LOS ANGELES – Manny Pacquiao was tight-lipped about making a prediction while American rival Keith Thurman was the exact opposite on Wednesday as the wait for their July 20 world welterweight war in Las Vegas enters the twilight zone.
Hosting an open media workout at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Pacquiao feels the judges’ scorecards will be rendered meaningless.
“There’s a big chance that this fight is not going the distance,” said Pacquiao, 40, who will be facing a foe not only ten years younger, but brasher and bolder than anyone he’s ever seen.
“I’ll be prepared but I’m thinking it’s not going 12 rounds,” he said, sounding upbeat that his arms, and not Thurman’s, will be raised at the MGM Grand.
Thurman, who is in his final days training in Tampa Bay, is vocal and direct-to-the-point.
“My prediction? Less than six rounds. I would love to be 30-0, with 23 knockouts. We’ve got 22 and we’ve held those 22 knockouts for a little too long. It’s time to get one more knockout,” Thurman told boxingscene.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach admits Thurman won’t show up looking like a sacrificial lamb but will end up getting stretched anyway.
“I like Manny in the late rounds, that’s where he usually excels, Thurman, to me, that is where he usually starts fading, especially in his last two fights. He starts quickly and fades as the fight goes on,” said Roach, who is in his 18th year training the Filipino eight-division champion.
Nonoy Neri, who forms the backbone of Pacquiao’s potent training team, insists that they all had to slow him down.
“Kailangang pigilan kasi baka masunog,” said Neri, who will serve in the corner alongside Buboy Fernandez and conditioning coach Justin Fortune and, if necessary, cutman Mike Rodriguez.