Freddie Roach is talking up a knockout ahead of Manny Pacquiao’s challenge to WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 20.
Coach Roach believes that some of Thurman’s recent comments will only add fuel to the fire, saying that Pacquiao will punish him for his words on fight night.
“The fire is there. I love when fighters talk about Manny, because Manny takes it to heart,” said Roach to Fighthub. “He’ll make him pay for it. At the news conference, Thurman said a few things about Manny, and Manny just let it go. I had to open my mouth and say, ‘We’re going to knock you out.’ I thought I was going to get a response back, but I didn’t.”
Roach went on to claim that Thurman, who has been best by injuries for much of his championship reign, is a faded fighter.
“His last three fights, you can see he’s faded. He’s lucky to win that last one,” said Roach. “He had a very, very poor performance. I know he had an injury and he had time off, but he has no excuses for this one.”
Pacquiao, 40, has bounced back from his unanimous decision loss to Australian Jeff Horn in 2017, stringing together a pair of wins over Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner.
“I think we’ll knock him out along the way,” said Roach. “I think that Manny’s really hungry for a knockout, and I’m really hungry for a knockout. We’ve never knocked anyone out at 147, and that’s something we need to do.”
Thurman returned to the ring in January after almost two years on the sidelines to score a majority decision win over Josesito Lopez at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.