By Nick Giongco
Brisbane, Australia — Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach sees an uncanny similarity between Jeff Horn and British bad boy Ricky Hatton heading into the final hours leading up to Manny Pacquiao’s first defense of the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown at Suncorp Stadium.
“If this guy is as aggressive as they say he is, Manny will knock him out like what Manny did to Hatton,” said Roach on Saturday at the lobby of the Sofitel Brisbane CBD, the official residence of Pacquiao and the Top Rank team led by Bob Arum.
A one-punch knockout?
“Yeah, just like what happened to Hatton,” said Roach with conviction.
But as soon as Horn gets a taste of Pacquiao’s furious fists, the moment he and almost everyone are looking forward to seeing might not even take place.
If that happens, Roach is certain that Horn, younger by almost ten years at 29, would ride his bike “and go the other way.”
A stoppage victory Sunday by Pacquiao will put an end to nine years of futility.
The last time Pacquiao came close to winning by knockout was against Chris Algieri of the US in November, 2014 in Macau where he scored a total of six knockdowns en route to a lopsided decision win.
Last year, Pacquiao faced Tim Bradley for the third time and scored two knockdowns on his way to a clear-cut points victory.
The jump in weight has made it hard for Pacquiao, who began his career as a light-flyweight (108 lb) in 1995, to score a knockout as he has been pitted against naturally bigger men.
Pacquiao’s greatest hits took place between 122 lb (super-bantam) up to 140 (junior-welter) from 2001 until 2009 when his victims simply could not deal with his speed and his paralyzing power.
At 122, Pacquiao demolished just about everyone thrown at him while at 126 (feather), cut through Marco Antonio Barrera and at 130 (super-feather), crushed Erik Morales.
Pacquiao had a brief layover at 135 (lightweight) where he flattened David Diaz in 2008 and appeared at 140 (junior-welter) against Hatton in what has been regarded being Pacquiao’s most devastating victory at the elite level.
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