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Changing of the guard?

By: AP

Horn promoter says Pacquiao is also a world champion texter.

BRISBANE, Australia — Manny Pacquiao took a hit not just from Australian challenger Jeff Horn’s camp but from the local promoter as well during Wednesday’s press conference drumbeating their world welterweight title clash this weekend at Suncorp Stadium.

The fighters were cordial towards each other and hardly threw verbal jabs but their trainers and Dean Lonerghan of Duco Promtions provided the fireworks that Pacquiao and Horn didn’t deliver.

Freddie Roach said the scheduled 12-rounder “won’t last too long” while Horn’s cornerman Glenn Rushton told the media that the end will come later in the fight.

“It’ll be a late-round stoppage,” said Rushton, who reminded everyone that Horn is no pushover and that he can take Pacquiao’s best shots.

“This will be Manny’s toughest fight,” added Rushton.

Lonerghan had initiated the verbal sparring when, speaking on the dais, told everyone that “not only is Manny an eleven-time world champion, but he’s also a world champion texter because he never gets off his bloody phone.”

Even before Lonerghan spoke, Pacquiao had been busy twiddling with his smartphone and exchanging notes with Canadian adviser Mike Koncz, who was also on the presidential table.

Pacquiao just answered Lonerghan with a smile and continued to text and it was only during the latter stages of the function when he handed it over to one of his staff.

When it was his turn to speak, Pacquiao politely declined to issue a prediction, something that Horn also did although he expressed the belief that he is destined to become champion.

“I just promise you all a good fight,” said Pacquiao, who is aiming to score his first since knockout in almost eight years and improve his 59-6-2 record with 38 KOs.

“I haven’t dreamed about it but I keep seeing myself (winning), my hands being raised,” said the 29-year-old Horn, who has a 16-0-1 mark with 11 KOs.

Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 knockouts) said he was preparing notes on his phone and didn’t mean any offense.

He rejected any suggestion he was taking Horn lightly, saying he was ready to put his WBO belt and his reputation on the line.

Conditioning coach Dundee Kim, a South Korean émigré, feels a changing of the guard is on tap.

“I don’t think he prepared well for this fight and it’s strange,” said Kim, who has been helping out Horn the last four and a half years.

“Based on what I see, he’s not ready. His leg is not moving, his head not moving. His punch also,” said Kim, who has been an Australian resident the last two decades.

While the headliners beg off from saying how the fight will go, Kim was more than willing to stick out his neck.

“This will be the biggest shock and the world will go upside down,” added Kim.

For his part, the 29-year-old Horn didn’t mind it if Roach and Co. are expecting a knockout.

“I was surprised to hear them say that, actually,’’ the former school teacher said. “If he’s looking for a knockout it always makes you vulnerable. If you look for a knockout, it usually doesn’t come and you leave lots of openings.’’