by Nick Giongco
LAS VEGAS – Rival trainers Freddie Roach and Dan Birmingham share complete opposite views on Saturday night’s world welterweight title fight starring Manny Pacquiao against Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand.
Roach insists Pacquiao is so juiced up for battle that Thurman will be in for a total shock.
“Once Manny gets him on the ropes, he will get him there,” said Roach as he will order the Filipino star to step on the gas pedal as soon as the bell rings.“We are coming out hot,” Roach said.
Birmingham, on his part, said Pacquiao is going to feel the heat right away if he decides to engage instead of feel out his foe.
“If Keith catches him, he can hurt anybody with any punch. Just one time. That’s all it takes,” said Birmingham.
Reminded that could very well be the case, Thurman’s heavy hands will be right there to welcome Pacquiao, stressing that the eight-division champion better be concerned about “getting hit.”
Still, Birmingham admits that Pacquiao is no ordinary champion.
“He’s got a lot of experience. Quick-handed southpaw, good legs, tough guy. Lots of factors there,” said Birmingham, who trained Thurman for over two months in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Nonetheless, Thurman’s youth and being the naturally bigger fighter will prevail in the end.
“I think Keith is just a little younger, little stronger,” he added.
Roach, a Hall of Famer, doesn’t see it that way.
“This guy’s been talking too much and that has pissed Manny off. He even had a good staredown with Manny and he said something that I didn’t hear that probably was trash talk.”