Freddie Roach, who trains eight division king Manny Pacquiao, is not convinced that Keith Thurman is the same fighter that he was two years ago.
Thurman snapped a two-year layoff back in January, and put in a very lackluster performance against heavy underdog Josesito Lopez. Thurman was hurt badly during the contest.
Now Thurman will defend his WBA welterweight title against Pacquiao on July 20th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Roach is very confident that his boxer, 40-years-old, has more than enough to beat Thurman, who only fought five times in the past four years.
The Hall of Fame trainer felt Thurman looked terrible in his last outing and plans to have him tested in the very first round.
“Thurman’s a little bit slowed, he’s faded a little bit. Can he get his confidence back?” Roach told The Press Telegram. “I’m going to have Manny go out quick and put it on him right away and remind him of what he doesn’t like about the sport.”
Six and a half years ago, Pacquiao was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth meeting.
There were many who felt Pacquiao's career was over at that point.
“One thing I’ve learned about Manny Pacquiao along the way – and I learned that before that knockout happened – is that he knows that being knocked out is part of life and part of the sport,” said Roach.
“He understands it, and he accepts it. He accepts losing better than any fighter I’ve ever seen. I know, myself, because when I was knocked out for the first time, I was never the same. I know that for a fact. It affected me badly. At one time I would have told you nobody in the world could knock me out. But then after it happened, it changed my life. … And I didn’t accept it like Manny Pacquiao did.”