Roach sees Pacquiao testing Vargas' power first
By Dino Maragay Updated Wednesday November 02, 2016 - 4:16pm

Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Los Angeles the other day. | Photo courtesy of Wendell Alinea

LAS VEGAS - Freddie Roach would command Manny Pacquiao to keep the fight at the center of the ring when he takes on Jessie Vargas here on Saturday.

But knowing his prized pupil from head to toe, Roach said Pacquiao might do the exact opposite as soon as the opening bell sounds.

"I would like it (fight) to stay in the middle of the ring," Roach told STAR after a four-round mitts session with Pacquiao at the Top Rank Gym here Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

"But you know what? In the first round, Manny will go to the ropes just to see how hard this guy punches. And then he'll come back to me and say 'I can take his punch,'" the multi-tiled cornerman continued.

This was exactly what Pacquiao did when he fought Miguel Cotto in 2009, wherein he egged Cotto to attack him as he did the rope-a-dope.

It was a sight that sent chills down the spine of Pacquiao's cornermen then. But in the end, Pacquiao discovered that he could take Cotto's best shots, and went on to batter him for 12 rounds en route to a stoppage.

"He has done this many times," Roach added.

Vargas, the reigning WBO welterweight champion, is not known for his punching power. Of his 27 victories, only 10 came by way of knockout.

But the 27-year-old home fighter claimed he has improved his power, as evidenced by his TKO win over Sadam Ali in March.

Pacquiao would love to find that out himself.

"So Manny will go to the ropes early and test it, and [assistant trainer] Buboy [Fernandez] may cry and get upset. But Manny is used to it," a smiling Roach continued.

And once Pacquiao's done feeling Vargas' power?

"The attack will be on," said Roach.

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