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.”
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.”