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End is near for Pacquiao

BRISBANE, Australia – Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach admits that the end is near but he believes Manny Pacquiao still has something left in the tank going into this Sunday’s title clash with Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium.

“Manny’s got a few fights left and I know that we are getting close to the end,” Roach said Tuesday as Pacquiao cools down in his preparation for the first defense of his world welterweight crown.

What if Pacquiao still ends up beating Horn but struggles in doing so?

Then, Roach has no choice but to tell the 38-year-old fighting senator the truth.

“If he struggles, it could be over and I could call it a day,” said Roach, whose first stint as cornerman for the then-gangling and unknown southpaw was in mid-2001.

But Roach feels those words won’t be spoken, at least, in this particular fight.

“This is a big step in class for Horn,” said the 57-year-old Roach, adding that Pacquiao’s speed, power and experience will prove too much for the undefeated but inexperienced Horn to overcome.

Still, Roach thinks it’s foolish to look beyond Horn, saying he is “a good puncher and can be aggressive” and his tendency to brawl should make the scheduled 12-rounder “an explosive one.”

This is the reason why Roach wants Pacquiao to warm up as he sees Horn starting out extra-strong so if the Australian challenger decides to bang, they won’t be caught flat-footed.

During Tuesday’s short training session, Pacquiao was bubbly and the mood was electric as the southpaw played around with a few Australian spectators who were allowed to watch him in action.

After shadowboxing and doing the mitts, Pacquiao was urged by Roach and strength coach Justin Fortune to slow down and call it a day.

In a rare moment, Pacquiao obliged and didn’t protest when his gloves were taken off and his hand wraps were peeled.

After dressing up, Pacquiao entertained a few fans who wanted pictures taken with him. He also signed a few memorabilia pieces before heading back to his suit at the Sofitel in the Central Business District.

Pacquiao (59-6-2 with 38 KOs) is the heavy favorite against Horn (16-0-1 with 11 KOs).