Roach keeping a close eye on first round
Freddie Roach with Manny Pacquiao in the foreground
MP Promotions/Wendell Rupert Alinea
Roach keeping a close eye on first round
Dino Maragay ( - July 20, 2019 - 3:31pm

LAS VEGAS – The first round of a boxing match is when fighters feel each other out.

But for the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman clash here Saturday (Sunday, Manila time), the opening canto could very well spell the difference.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime cornerman, said the winner of the fight could be determined as early as the first round.

“I think whoever takes control of that first round is going to have a big advantage,” Roach told reporters Friday (Saturday, Manila time) after Pacquiao and Thurman cleared the scales.

“The first round will tell me who's gonna win the fight. That's why we're coming hot,” added Roach. 

He said he expects Pacquiao to fight more aggressively than he did in his previous fights, especially with the fact that the Filipino icon is fired up by Thurman’s verbal jabs.

“I like how Manny's a little bit angry, I think he fights well. He's smarter and better when he is,” Roach continued.

Despite Thurman’s advantages in reach and height, Pacquiao, through his in-and-out movement and ability to punch from odd angles, can force the WBA “super” welterweight champion to the ropes.

This is where Pacquiao can excel, according to Roach.

“I think Manny can back Thurman up. I plan on putting Thurman on the ropes in this fight and Manny being a little more aggressive there."

“And once he puts him on the ropes, I think he'll have him,” he explained.

Roach already envisions Thurman’s downfall.

“I think he'll stand toe to toe until Manny hits him. Bye bye,” he said.

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