Several days ago, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach spoke to BoxingScene.com about Manny Pacquiao's upcoming defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight championship.
Pacquiao will face a huge underdog, 2012 Australian Olympian Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), on July 1 in Brisbane. A sold-out crown of over 50,000 is expected at the Suncorp Stadium.
Roach explained that he viewed Horn as sort of a tune-up type of contest to prepare for a much better opponent in the fall.
If Roach had his pick, he would love have Pacquiao face WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia at a catch-weight.
"[Horn is] a good fight to see where he's at and who's gonna be next. The thing is, it's kind of a tune-up fight for us and who he has next... Mikey Garcia's brother came to me the other day and said to me 'will you fight my brother?' I said 'sure.' I love that fight. I don't make the final decisions, but it's a possible future fight. That's what we're looking for right now, a tune-up fight and then on to bigger and better things," Roach said to BoxingScene.com.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum says Horn is far from a fighter that Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) can overlook.
“No, It is not a tune-up fight and Manny knows it,” Arum told The Manila Times. “Is Terence Crawford better than Horn or I mean Horn better than Crawford? No he is not, but Horn is a formidable young guy with a big punch and he is durable. So, Manny knows that he needs to take Horn seriously."
“Pacquiao is going to fight in November and Crawford is just one of the opponents that we are talking about but we do not have any opponent yet. Absolutely, it is a fight against a guy considered to be a tough opponent, whoever he is, that’s the way we want to go.”