by Dennis Principe
For Australian boxing icon Jeff Fenech, there is only one, single way for countryman Jeff Horn to win against world welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and that is to force their fight into a phone booth brawl.
In an exclusive telephone interview with this writer, Fenech said that since Horn is known as an obedient kid inside the gym, the Australian challenger’s chances of winning may largely depend on what he will get from his trainers.
“If they tell him to stay off Manny and he’s going to win the fight, they’re dreaming. He’s got to make it a very rough, hard fight. Give Manny no room. He’s got to take Manny out of his comfort zone,” said Fenech.
Fenech believes that being the younger fighter, Horn may have the stamina and grit to stay with the 38-year-old Pacquiao in a give-and-take affair, noting that the Filipino icon’s power may have diminished owing to his inability to score a knockout since his TKO win over Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto in 2010.
“Once you become rich and famous, you lose that hunger. He’s not that hungry anymore if he’s taking this fight easy he’s gotta be very careful,” added Fenech “What Jeff Horn must do is to put a lot of pressure on Manny, hold him and tie him up. Make it a dirty fight. It’s a very, very hard task for Jeff but he’s a true warrior, he’s a winner.”
The 54-year-old Fenech who is one of Australia’s biggest boxing superstars during his prime came so near in leading a fighter score a stunning knockout win over Pacquiao nearly two decades ago.
Back in October 2000, Fenech’s boxer Lebanese-Australian Nedal Hussein floored Pacquiao with a stinging left jab during their 12-round regional title fight but the Filipino champion was able to beat the count in what Hussein’s camp claimed as a slow count.
Pacquiao went on to win the fight via 11th round TKO as Hussein suffered an ugly gash on his left eyebrow, a loss which Fenech said has been water under the bridge for a long time now.
“I know what Manny does and I know what he brings to the table so I will be helping Jeff as much as I could but there’s no hard feelings,” said Fenech “Manny that night showed that much courage, getting off the floor from that big punch. He won the fight at the end of the day. That young Manny Pacquiao is a totally different fighter now.”
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) will stake his WBO welterweight crown against the unbeaten Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) in a 12-round title fight this Sunday at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
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