Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn- Q & A transcript
Fighter of the Decade and reigning WBO welterweight champion MANNY "Pacman" PACQUIAO, and his opponent, undefeated No. 1 contender JEFF “The Hornet” HORN, hosted a media Q&A on Tuesday in Brisbane, Australia, just days before their historic flight. They were joined by their respective trainers, Freddie Roach and Glenn Rushton, and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum
Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, boxing's only eight-division world champion and the only sitting Senator to capture a world championship belt, and Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, a 2012 Olympian and Pacquiao’s mandatory challenger, collide this Sunday, July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in front of a national record 60,000 fans.
SONY ESPN will televise the Pacquiao-Horn world title tilt and an all-action three-bout undercard Live beginning at 6.30 a.m. IST and ESPN.in will live stream all the action.
FRED STERNBURG: The biggest fight in Australian history is just days away. Fighter of the Decade and Eight-Division World Champion Senator Manny Pacquiao will be defending his WBO welterweight title against undefeated and No. 1 mandatory challenger Jeff “The Hornet” Horn.
It is a huge event and it will be televised live in India on Sunday, July 2, on Sony ESPN, beginning 6.30 a.m. IST. We have both Jeff and Manny on and we will begin with Jeff as well as his trainer/manager Glenn Rushton and his promoter Dean Lonergan. To set the table, it is a pleasure to introduce Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum.
BOB ARUM: Thank you very much. There is tremendous excitement for this fight – it is something really special. I am very, very excited about this event between welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. It’s is going to be a very, very good battle. I watched Jeff train – I think he’s up for a performance of his life and you are going to see a great, great fight on Sunday morning.
JEFF HORN: I m feeling very excited Sunday afternoon for Sunday to come and I am ready to go to war.
GLENN RUSHTON: I can’t elaborate too much on the ten-point-plan we developed – it is very much a secret -- but we are exceptionally confident that if Jeff follows that ten-point-plan, he will emerge victorious. He has trained incredibly hard and he is as fit as he has ever been. victorious. He has trained incredibly hard and he is as fit as he has ever been. victorious. He has trained incredibly hard and he is as fit as he has ever been. victorious. He has trained incredibly hard and he is as fit as he has ever been.
He is injury free. His jaw is as hard as granite. His heart is as big as Suncorp Stadium, and he is technically very proficient, so it is going to be one heck of a fight come Saturday night over there (USA), Sunday afternoon over here (Australia) and Sunday morning over there (India). I think the crowd is going to be shocked as to how good a fighter Jeff is. I think some have thought this will be a relatively easy fight for Manny Pacquiao and that certainly won’t be the case. We are looking forward to the biggest boxing event is Australian history.
What was going through your mind when you heard that this fight would happen, and in your hometown?
JEFF HORN: Yes, it was very unexpected. I actually couldn’t believe it when I got it, but I was thankful that I got it and I jumped at it and said I’ll do it. I said yes, but then I heard it was going to be at Suncorp, it has been more than my dream come true – a world title shot against Pacquiao in my hometown.
Glenn, could you give me your thoughts on that? When they called and said Jeff would be fighting Manny Pacquiao?
GLENN RUSHTON: Actually, it felt true to me – it felt correct. When we sat down with Dean Lonergan of Duco Events, our promoter, I said, ‘Dean, I envision Jeff Horn fighting at Suncorp Stadium for a world title in front of a full house. That’s my dream. I envisioned it.” I said ‘can you see that?’
And he gulped a little bit and said ‘well yes I suppose I could see that so he slowly bought into that dream. It’s a dream that I have had and it felt right. It felt like everything deserved to be. I have always believed this would happen. We are very pleased with it and looking very much forward to seeing this turn into a historic event.
Jeff, what is the largest crowd you have fought in front of?
JEFF HORN: The largest crowd I have fought in front of would be about 10,000 – that was on the undercard of Parker-Ruiz last December. This is next level for sure.
What makes you think that you can beat many Pacquiao?
JEFF HORN: I think I have a style that Pacquiao has not fought before. I think he is going to struggle with my style. I am bigger than him. He may be faster than me but I am pretty quick as well. I could hit him with the right shot and nobody knows what could happen.
Do you feel like you are fighting a peak many Pacquiao?
GLENN RUSHTON: We do believe that Manny Pacquiao is at his peak. Certainly, I do not feel he is far off his peak – he is fairly close – he did a terrific job against Jessie Vargas – he was incredibly sharp there – he was picking him off very well. He did not look like a 38-year-old man, that’s for sure.
He looked very, very good against Tim Bradley and very sharp as well, so if he has fallen from his peak, he has come from such a hard place, he has fallen very slightly, he is still far better than his opposition. We are looking to fight the best Manny Pacquiao. We are not looking to fight someone that is past his prime – we are not thinking that way at all – that would be very foolish.
We are preparing to fight the Manny Pacquiao that Freddie Roach has been saying in his training has been looking sharp and knocking people down in sparring and so forth. So we are here to fight Manny Pacquiao at his best and we are going to bring our own game and there will be no excuses – just two great warriors out there and we are looking forward to this amazing contest.
JEFF HORN: I think Manny has looked good in his last couple of fights, he probably doesn’t pull the trigger a little bit when he had the chance. Look, he is still a super fast fighter that has easily taken apart his last few opponents. I don’t know if he has a knockout in him but who knows? I will finally find out though.
Jeff – who do you think is the toughest opponent you have fought thus far?
JEFF HORN: That’s a hard one. I have fought a lot of tough guys. Randall Bailey was certainly the hardest puncher I have ever fought - for sure the hardest puncher. I have fought a lot of tough guys – they have all been really strong. Rico Mueller was very strong. Even Ben Rabeh was a really tough fighter. I could name a heap of my past fights that were tough.
How much of a step up do you think this is from past opponents?
JEFF HORN: Yes this is definitely jumping a few steps at a time. I have fought some tough guys – some high-level competition, but Manny Pacquiao has that legendary status.
GLENN RUSHTON: It is a step up but you’ve got to understand we can only fight the toughest guys we can get hold of. I spoke to Duco’s matchmaker and I said “Jeff is legit and I want to go up against world-class opponents’ and this is the last ten, they have all been world-ranked.
They all had at least 20 fights under their belt and they must have at least a 90% win record. The matchmaker thought I was crazy he said most trainers don’t want to fight anyone that’s got a pulse and you want to fight all of these really tough guys.
I said there is a reason for that I’m trying to put Jeff up against as tough an opponent as I can so I can harden him for days when we get an opportunity against a Manny Pacquiao. I want him to be ready to fight against the toughest guys.
Of course along the way we would have loved to fight a Jessie Vargas or a Tim Bradley but in this game those guys are going to say ‘what’s the upside for me?’ So we fought the toughest people we can and Jeff has risen because of that to become the No. 1 contender – so he is in this position and a lot of people are saying that and after this fight, everyone will know who Jeff Horn is on Sunday, they will all know who Jeff Horn is.
Who do you think gave him the most difficult time in the ring?
GLENN RUSHTON: I personally feel that having been in the corner for all of his fights – the toughest fight was probably Naoufel Ben Rabeh – remember this was just Jeff’s seventh fight and Rabeh was 35-2 and his two losses were for world titles and some say his loss to Juan Urango was a little bit curious but he was a tough fight to have in only your seventh fight.
It was a winner tale all fight and we took it on two weeks notice and we went to Rabeh’s hometown to fight him. It was a very tough fight and Jeff lost the first round and after that when I said, ‘Jeff this is winner take all’ – he was covered in blood – it was a very hard first round – there is no second prize here – you could go home with no money in your pocket.
He won every round after that and apparently, well he retired Ben Rabeh, put him in the hospital and he said he suffered more damage in that fight than in either of his two world title fights. And that was on two weeks notice. That gives you some idea on how Jeff will look against Pacquiao. Whatever Manny wants to throw at Jeff, Jeff will rise to the occasion.
There are two ways these fights usually go – the underdog pulls the upset or the underdog looks very bad…
JEFF HORN: I have just been putting everything into it – training very hard and I think all of that is going to pay off for me. Manny Pacquiao is going to be surprised at what I take to him in the ring.
Do you think being a lesser known fight is an advantage for you?
JEFF HORN: I think in the last couple of fights Pacquiao has not lost too much. To me not being known as a fighter – that might be handy in this fight, as in Manny has not been able to study what I can do and maybe underestimate me in this fight, and in the same way, Pacquiao has fought so many tough guys, that we all know and have watched, so he has definitely got the experience on me. But will he use that experience? We will see.
How much motivation do you get from being the underdog, to win this fight?
JEFF HORN: It does give me massive motivation – it makes me train harder knowing that no one gives me a shot, but I have experienced that throughout my whole career. I guess this is on another level and there are a lot more people saying I’ve got no chance at all. I like being the underdog. It’s fun.
GLENN RUSHTON: Jeff is a fierce competitor. He is very determined especially with his big heart he is probably one of the really key factors, he hates losing at anything, whether it is poker or table tennis or whatever it is – he is one of those people that just has to win and I think that has been a real motivating factor – people saying that I’m not going to win is dangerous. We know we are fighting one of the greatest fighters of all time and we are very mindful and respect Manny Pacquiao’s abilities.
That KO against Marquez, that’s a stone-cold KO that takes something out of a fighter – getting knocked out cold like that – that’s got to be haunting to a fighter in the back of his mind. We have the young hungry lion here – big and mean who is technically very good – he made the finals in the Olympics and won two national titles so he knows he is technically very good, he’s tough and he knows he’s got a great chin.
He knows all of this and he has come off not too long ago loss against Marquez and that’s going to haunt him a little bit when he gets hit with Jeff’s power and it’s going to change things. There is going to be a time in this fight that there will be a change and you’ll sense that this is a very young guy that is tough and he is going to startle.
We love being the underdog. It is terrific. It takes a lot of pressure off Jeff and at the end of the day Manny Pacquiao is just a man. He is just a man so when we get out there on the night of the fight it’s going to come down to who wants it the most and one thing is for sure, and I assure you, there is no one on this earth that wants it more than Jeff Horn.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Hello to everyone wherever you are – good evening, good afternoon and good morning.
FREDDIE ROACH: Don’t miss this fight it is going to be fun.
With all of the other champions and top fighters at welterweight, why did you decide to fight Jeff Horn?
MANNY PACQUIAO: It is good to fight in a country that you haven’t fought in before and to give a chance to Jeff – he is undefeated and it is good to give him a chance. He has earned it.
Were you interested in fighting one of the other champions?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes, but also Jeff is the mandatory champion.
Would you like to once again fight in the Philippines?
MANNY PACQUIAO: We are working on fighting in my country of the Philippines -- we would like to do that.
Do you think we could see a Manny Pacquiao knockout against Jeff Horn?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Different fighters and Freddie and I work to focus on the knockout but we don’t know if it will come but we prepare for safety first and defence and not being careless and doing our job. If the knockout comes it will come and if I have the chance to knock him out I will grab that opportunity.
FREDDIE ROACH: It’s been a good training camp and there have been a few knockdowns in this camp and it’s been a while since we have had that and Manny has been looking really sharp in camp and he has had a great camp and he is 100% ready for this fight.
How do you get Manny Pacquiao up for a fight like Jeff Horn compared to all of the huge opponents he has faced in the past?
FREDDIE ROACH: One thing about Manny we don’t take anyone lightly – Jeff is not that well known but he does have 16 wins and he has fought a couple of names out there, but again, we get ready for everyone and we are in great shape for this fight as we would be for anybody else in the world.
Do you think that with the huge SONY ESPN audience is a good opportunity to show fans you are still an elite fighter?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes this is a great opportunity to show the fans of boxing that we are still here and not done in boxing so this is a good chance and we believe that a lot of people will be watching.
Horn’s trainer said earlier that Manny is not the same after the Marquez KO . . .
FREDDIE ROACH: The Marquez punch, Manny stepped into that right hand and I think since that fight he has fought wonderfully. That fight was so long ago to me and since then Manny has been ready for every fight and we waited for Marquez to give us a rematch and he wouldn’t give us one so we are on with Jeff Horn right now.
MANNY PACQUIAO: For me, I am still the same – I am still a boxer – and I disagree.
What do you expect it to be like going into a stadium with a full crowd rooting against you?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I am a person that loves to fight against my opponent with focus and determination. It gives me extra motivation to have 50,000 to 60,000 fans cheering for him, so that is good for me. Like when I fought Marco Antonio Barrera in San Antonio, Texas in 2002, I had only five fans for me, and four of them were Freddie and my corner. It gives me more inspiration and focus.
FREDDIE ROACH: Well, you know there is going to be a big crowd there and at the beginning, they may be rooting against Manny Pacquiao but at the end of the fight everyone in the building will be on Manny’s side. EVERYONE.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Thank you so much for everything and for this opportunity to speak to all of the media from around the world and thank you to Bob and to the promoter Dean Lonergan and ESPN. Thank you
FREDDIE ROACH: Brisbane is a great place, a wonderful city and it’s great to see the world and make sure you tune in Sunday morning on SONY ESPN.
The July 2 telecast will also feature Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan (2-0, 2 KOs), from Belfast, in a six-round featherweight bout against Jarrett "Juarez" Owen (5-4-3, 2 KOs), of Brisbane, and International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight world champion Jerwin "Pretty Boy" Ancajas (24-1-1, 16 KOs), of Cavite City, Philippines, defending his title against top-rated contender Teiru Kinoshita (25-1-1, 8 KOs), of Kobe, Japan.
The live telecast will open with an eight-round middleweight rumble between Shane Mosley, Jr. (10-1, 7 KOs), of Pomona, Calif. and son of former three-division world champion “Sugar” Shane Mosley, and David Toussaint (10-0, 8 KOs), of Canberra, Australia.
Watch the Top Rank Boxing Under Cards and Main Events on 2nd July 2017 Live and Exclusive only on SONY ESPN & SONY ESPN HD 6:30 am onwards.
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