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Roach not worried if Pacquiao tests Horn's power

Freddie Roach faces the press before Manny Pacquiao's media workout at a gym inside Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia on Tuesday. | Dino Maragay

BRISBANE, Australia – Freddie Roach had seen Manny Pacquiao feeling his opponent’s power early in a fight, and he won’t be surprised if the Filipino icon will take the same risk on Sunday against Jeff Horn.

Roach on Tuesday said it would be normal for Pacquiao to retreat to the ropes and let Horn come banging at him, just to see if he can handle the 29-year-old Australian’s blows.

“Possibly, yeah,” the bespectacled trainer replied when asked if Pacquiao might again pull off a rope-a-dope against Horn, just like he did almost eight years ago when he fought Miguel Cotto.

Roach then conjured memories of that exciting 2009 bout against the heavy-handed Cotto, whom Pacquiao successfully lured to the ropes in the early rounds and whose hard blows hardly had an effect on him.

“Again, I've seen a lot about Manny, and I remember when we're fighting Cotto, (assistant trainer) Buboy (Fernandez) was in the corner crying, 'Manny is on the ropes!'” Roach recalled in his session with the media at a gym inside the Suncorp Stadium, the venue for Sunday’s title fight.

“And then Manny came back and I said ‘Manny, I told you not to come to the ropes.’”

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“He said ‘I wanna see how hard he hits.' And I said ‘can he hurt you?’ He said no. I said ‘okay, the fight is on, go get him,’” Roach continued.

Indeed, once Pacquiao discovered he can take Cotto’s best shots, the rest was history as the Filipino rolled to a lopsided 12th round TKO win.

On Sunday when he stakes his WBO welterweight champion against Horn, Roach is bracing to witness the same scene.

Horn is known to possess a powerful overhand right, which his camp claims will be the key weapon against the southpaw Pacquiao.

Pacquiao, for his part, would love to find out if Horn’s power is for real.

“He does that,” said Roach, who has learned to accept his ward’s risky habit.

“If it happens, it happens. He will go to the ropes and test somebody's power. So far he's had success with that.”

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