Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach spoke to the press just over a week away from his challenge for Keith Thurman’s WBA “Super” welterweight title.
When asked if he ever thought he’d fight at a high level over the age of 40, Pacquiao felt he needed to because he had something to prove.
“Yes, that’s what I’m trying to prove this time because we know that a lot of our fans and people in boxing were doubting my capability at the age of 40. So I have to prove something this time because at the age of 40 I’m not thinking about my age. I’m thinking about what I can do for the fans.”
Roach was asked if Thurman was the best fighter Pacquiao has faced since his 2015 fight against Floyd Mayweather, and the trainer could not commit to giving Thurman that label.
“You can say that,” Roach told the reporter. “But I don’t think he’s the best fighter. We’ve fought a bunch of better fighters along the way. But yes, he’s a good, solid guy. And it should make for a very good fight.”
Thurman has taunted Pacquiao during the entire build for this fight, including remarks that he will retire Pacquiao and supplant him as the biggest name in the welterweight division. Pacquiao does feel that Thurman crossed a line, but it would only further motivate the 40-year-old senator.
“Well, it is kind of over the line for me, but I’m not angry with him. I’m somebody very motivated by all he says. The trash talk that he did, he made even my mom get mad. But it gives me more motivation to focus the training and to focus on my condition, how hard I push the training.”
“His work ethic is unbelievable,” Roach said of Pacquiao. “He wants to work every minute of every day. He wants to do 40 rounds a day in the ring and so forth. We do have to hold him back a little bit. We’re on a five-day running schedule right now instead of six and we’re giving him a couple extra days off during the week trying to get him not to over train because he does have a tendency of wanting to do that.”
Thurman and his trainer Dan Birmingham have made it clear that they’re gonna come straight after Pacquiao and make it a fire fight. The threat was welcomed by Pacquiao, thinking it will be “lovely” if Thurman decides to stand and trade with him.
“That’s going to be lovely if he fights toe to toe with me. Knockouts will come but I’m not saying that I’m going to have a prediction with this fight. I don’t want to be careless in the fight.”