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Freddie Roach urging Manny Pacquiao to knockout Keith Thurman

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Freddie Roach has a simple explanation for why he believes we will see a rejuvenated Manny Pacquiao in the ring against Keith Thurman this Saturday.

“His pay per view numbers sucked,” Roach told Sporting News with a laugh on Wednesday. “That’s the real reason. People want knockouts, and on pay-per-view, people want knockouts more because they are paying to see it. I was urging him on about this.

“I told him for quite a while that the equation where he just has to do enough to beat his opponents — where you don’t have to really hurt them or try to knock them out — won’t work. That fell apart with Jeff Horn. I like when the judges are taken out of the result.”

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Roach was collateral damage in the wash-up after the Horn loss, dismissed as head trainer in favour of Pacquiao’s lifelong friend Buboy Fernandez. It came after Roach advised Pacquiao that his responsibilities as a senator in his native Philippines was impacting his career as a boxer.

“He’s always had a full plate of responsibilities,” said Roach, who still works with Pacquiao in an assistant trainer capacity. “He knew it was hard to be a senator and a boxer at the same time. He needed to choose one or the other and I got let go for trying to give him good advice.”

Pacquiao has won back-to-back fights against Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner since the Horn loss two years ago but WBA welterweight champion Thurman promises to present a sterner challenge.

Roach insists that the smack talk from Thurman, which has included warning that he will end the 40-year-old’s career, have only provided more motivation for the evergreen Pacquiao.

“Whenever Manny is upset or dislikes an opponent he fights much more aggressive,” Roach said. “And when he’s more aggressive he’s a much better fighter. I’m hoping for the knockout.”

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