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Roach plots six weeks of training

By NICK GIONGCO

Manny Pacquiao 2Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach has already made travel plans for a six-week stay in Manila to get Manny Pacquiao ripe and ready for the first defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown versus Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane.

Roach told the Courier Mail, a Brisbane-based tabloid, yesterday that details for the training camp in the Philippines have all been finalized and that Pacquiao will be at his utmost best for the first defense of the WBO 147-lb title at the 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium.

“There might be 55,000 people in the (Suncorp) Stadium cheering for Horn but that will only encourage Manny to put on the best show he can,” Roach told the paper.

“He will be the very best he can be for this fight because we know Jeff Horn will be at his best too.’’

Horn, ranked second by the WBO and unbeaten in 17 fights with 11 KOs, is the heavy underdog but Roach is not writing him off as one of boxing’s longest lasting teamup looks forward to bigger things down the road.

“Horn is a strong guy, a counterpuncher…”

“There are some big fights coming up for Manny in the near future and Jeff Horn is just the kind of opponent Manny needs to prepare for those,” added the 57-year-old Roach, who began working with the Filipino southpaw in mid-2001.

The last few days, Pacquiao, 38, has been hitting the road and doing light exercises as he eagerly awaits the arrival of Roach for the most crucial phase of their buildup.

With Pacquiao tied up with his legislative duties as a senator, Roach will have to live with the fact that most of their training sessions will have to be done during the evening.

Last time Pacquiao fought, it was at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas late last year against Jessie Vargas, who lost on points.

Horn, a former school teacher and 2012 London Olympian, stopped Ali Funeka in his last outing last year in Auckland, New Zealand.

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