BRISBANE, Australia – Manny Pacquiao is not underestimating the punching power of Jeff Horn, although the boxing legend believes he’s very much capable of enduring the best the local hero could give in their world title fight on Sunday.
Pacquiao had gone to war against some of the men considered among the best punchers in the sports, and somehow, managed to keep up with them, and more so, beat them.
And so, the 38-year-old Filipino, who stakes his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown, isn’t a bit worried about Horn’s power, especially his strong right hand which had flattened 11 of the 17 men he fought in his four-year career.
“I’m not worried about his power because I’ve been fighting bigger and stronger guys like (Miguel) Cotto, and Antonio Margarito,” said Pacquiao before attending the red carpet luncheon gala Friday afternoon at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre here.
Pacquiao stopped Cotto in a bloody and competitive welterweight fight in 2009 for the WBO crown, and then battered the towering Margarito for 12 rounds in scoring a unanimous decision the year after to claim the World Boxing Council (WBC) super welterweight title.
The Cotto fight was the last time the fighting pride of General Santos City scored a knockout win, while his match with Margarito was the heaviest Pacquiao climbed in weight at 154.
Cotto now fights as a middleweight.
Other than the two, Pacquiao also included the legendary Oscar dela Hoya in his short list of opponents whose punches packed a wallop. He retired the ‘Golden Boy’ by sending him to submission in the eighth round of their fight that marked his first foray as a welterweight.
“Talk about power and being heavy-handed,” he said.
But Top Rank Promotions chairman Bob Arum guarantees Horn, 29, can really punch.
“This kid Horn is a big strong kid, takes a good punch, gives his punches really well, and has fought some really good pros. So I really believe he can give a tremendous account of himself and give Manny a lot of difficulties,” said the eloquent promoter, who was among the boxing luminaries honored during the gala luncheon.
The eminent Roberto Duran, who shared center stage with Arum, veteran commentator Bob Sheridan, ring announcer Michael Buffer, former Australian world champion Jeff Fenech, reigning WBO heavyweight champ Joseph Parker, and one-time Pacquiao tormentor Tim Bradley, acknowledged both Pacquiao and Horn as heavy hitters.
That being said, the 66-year-old Panamanian boxer considered as among the greatest fighters of all-time, added he won’t be surprised if the title fight would end in a knockout.