By: Hans Themistode
Freddie Roach watches carefully from his ringside seat in his nearly empty Wild Card gym. The Hall of Fame trainer leans across the ropes and observes as Manny Pacquiao continues to put his body through a grueling workout in preparation for his August 21st showdown against unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
For the vast majority of Pacquiao’s career, the former eight-division world champion has more times than not, stepped into the ring as the prohibited favorite. This time around, oddsmakers have flipped the script as Spence Jr. is expected to leave their showdown with the victory. Despite the doubts, Roach is extremely confident in his fighter’s ability to get the job done.
Under normal circumstances, Roach would beat his chest and predict that Pacquiao will get the stoppage victory. However, with the Filipino native facing a much larger fighter, Roach doesn’t want the 42-year-old to engage in an all-out brawl.
“He knows that he’s gotta outbox this guy,” said Roach during an interview with Ray Flores. “His opponent is a little bit heavy on his feet and he isn’t a real good boxer but he’s a very, very good puncher.”
Spence Jr., 31, has gained a reputation of sorts over the past few years. With the Dallas native having the propensity for either ending fights before the final bell or hurting his opponents several times over, the unified welterweight titlist is considered a monster puncher for the weight class. In his most recent appearance in the ring, Spence Jr. outclassed former two-division world champion Danny Garcia before cruising to a unanimous decision victory.
At various times during their showdown, Spence Jr. appeared to rattle Garcia with huge shots. Admittedly, Roach watched closely as Spence Jr. dished out heavy damage to Garcia and everyone else he has stepped into the ring against.
While he isn’t budging from his notion that Pacquiao will pick up the win come August 21st, he does acknowledge that in order to do so, the 42-year-old senator will need to refrain from biting down on his mouthpiece and fighting fire with fire.
“When we get in the pocket with him, we land a quick combination but we need to get out of that pocket quickly because he will hit us back. In and out, combinations and really quick.”