Trainer warns Pacquiao, Roach against underestimating Horn

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Glenn Rushton, trainer of Australian boxer Jeff Horn, speaks during a press conference to promote Horn’s upcoming WBO welterweight boxing title fight against Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on June 28, 2017. Patrick Hamilton, AFP


MANILA, Philippines – Jeff Horn’s trainer is convinced that Manny Pacquiao and his team are underestimating the threat posed by the young Australian boxer in their upcoming world title fight, and believes the “Pacman” will wind up paying for it.

Glenn Rushton, who has trained Horn since the very beginning, stressed in a press conference on Wednesday in Brisbane, Australia, that Horn is “perfectly prepared” for the biggest challenge of his boxing career.

“Jeff is a very, very competitive guy,” Rushton said. “He’s perfectly prepared. He literally has a heart as big as the Suncorp Stadium, and he’s got the toughest chin I’ve ever seen on anybody. He’s technically, incredibly good.”

“Jeff can fight at all ranges,” he added. “And I think this will become Manny’s toughest fight.”

Pacquiao, who will defend his WBO welterweight belt on Sunday against Horn at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, is widely expected to cruise past the Australian, who has never fought at this level in his career.

A member of Australia’s boxing team in the 2012 London Olympics, Horn has compiled a professional record of 16 wins with no loss and one draw. Yet his professional resume leaves a lot to be desired; his biggest victory came against a faded Randall Bailey in 2016.

Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, have said that they are not looking past Horn, even as they believe that an impressive win over the Australian will pave the way for bigger fights for the Filipino star.

“We’re not taking anybody lightly,” Roach had said in the same press conference. “Jeff Horn is the guy in front of us right now.”

Pacquiao, for his part, said: “I’m fighting a guy from Australia, and he’s undefeated. This is going to be an exciting match.”

Rushton is not convinced that Team Pacquiao is giving Horn the respect he deserves, and said so bluntly, when it was his turn to speak.

“I do think that Freddie and Manny are probably underestimating Jeff,” Rushton said. “I know they say they’re not, and of course he (Pacquiao) is too experienced not to prepare properly.”

“But I do think that when they go out there, it’s going to be so different,” he added.

Rushton billed Horn as a “true warrior” who is prepared to win against Pacquiao, no matter what the odds say.

“[Pacquiao] is going to realize that he’s in for the fight of his life,” Rushton further predicted. “I hope he’s prepared for it. We’re prepared for it. We’ve trained as hard as we’ve ever trained for this fight, so we’re ready for war.”

“We really look forward to the fight,” he added. “We haven’t missed a beat in training, so we are confident… [Horn] knows in his heart that he hasn’t missed anything. He’s done everything that I’ve asked him to do, and we are supremely confident going in on Sunday.”

Horn, for his part, simply doubled-down on his coach’s statement that he is as prepared as can be for Pacquiao. The closest that the 29-year-old Australian came to trash talk was when he was asked if he had any premonitions ahead of the bout.

“I don’t know if it’s a dream, or if I just keep picturing it in my head so many times that it feels like it’s going to become real,” said Horn. “But I keep seeing my hand getting raised in that ring, and that belt going around my waist.”

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)



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