Roach Wants Pacquiao vs. Thurman

Freddie Roach wasn’t overly impressed with what he saw from Keith Thurman in his win against Danny Garcia.

The Hall-of-Fame trainer certainly didn’t see anything from Thurman in that fight that would prohibit him from matching Manny Pacquiao against the unbeaten WBA/WBC world welterweight champion.

“I would love that fight,” Roach told “Thurman is a good prospect. He fought OK in his last fight. He made it a lot closer than it needed to be. [Garcia] gave him a closer fight. … So either one of those guys, I would love to fight. Bring the contract and we’ll sign it today.”

The 28-year-old Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), who beat Garcia by split decision March 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, probably won’t fight again until sometime in the fall. The 38-year-old Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) could box Australia’s Jeff Horn in July in Brisbane, Australia, and, assuming Pacquiao wins, return to the ring in November.

Roach expects for Pacquiao to fight Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), the No. 2 contender for Pacquiao’s WBO world welterweight title, in his next bout.

Pacquiao’s trainer admitted that he would prefer to prepare Pacquiao for a fight against Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs). It appears unlikely that Pacquiao and the British star will fight next, despite their public proclamations to the contrary last month.

“According to Bob [Arum], the promoter, the Dubai fight was never real,” Roach said, referring to a supposed $38 million offer investors made to bring a Pacquiao-Khan fight to the United Arab Emirates. “I mean, it was great on paper, though. I would love that fight, him and Amir Khan. Amir Khan came here [to the Wild Card] last week to say hi to me and asked me if he could train here. I said, ‘Yeah, sure. Of course.’ I have no problem with Khan. The thing is, I think I have the better fighter, though, and I would like to see that fight. I think a lot of people would like to see that fight. But unfortunately that’s not gonna happen at this point.”

Based on his recent discussions with Arum, all signs point toward Pacquiao facing Horn in Horn’s native Brisbane because investors in Australia actually can follow through on their monetary promises.

“Bob tells me maybe the Australian boy [Horn] might have the inside track,” Roach said, “because there’s some real money over there and they’re talking about paying Pacquiao a lot of money to go to Australia to fight. And then I read in the press yesterday that [Pacquiao] might fight Chris van Heerden in South Africa. I don’t know where that one came from, but it was read to me.

“We’ll see, but the thing is, if Pacquiao fights again it’ll be somebody in the top 10 and somebody really legit. Because I don’t think we need to just continue boxing just for the sake of doing that against like lower-class fighters and so forth. If we’re gonna fight, we’re gonna fight and be competitive in the top 10 in the world.”

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