Boxing legend Freddie Roach hasn’t lost confidence in Manny Pacquiao as his 40-year-old prizefighter faces the hard-hitting welterweight champion, Keith Thurman, in their mega fight on July 20 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Nevada.

Roach, a multiple-time Trainer of the Year winner, stressed that Pacquiao hasn’t lost a step despite his advanced age, adding so far the Filipino champion is meeting, if not, surpassing his expectations ahead of a big fight.

When asked how long can Pacquiao keep this elite-level conditioning, Roach thinks Pacquiao has at least three more good fights left him on top of the Thurman bout before he hangs his gloves for good.

"We do have an agreement. I told him [Pacquiao] once I see signs of you declining, once I see signs you are getting old, I said I’m gonna tell you to retire and you will retire... “Three years, we are talking about big numbers now…but I would say three more fights, yeah!” Roach said of Pacquiao’s in-ring longevity in an exclusive interview with Marcos Villegas of FightHub.com.

Declining Thurman

Roach, who has also served as Pacquiao’s mouthpiece against trash-talking opponents, once again engaged in a war of words with Thurman, this time downplaying the American’s signature victories against Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia.

The trainer feels Thurman’s victories over these two legit welterweight campaigners are overrated. He added that the American’s last three fights –especially his latest bout against Josesito Lopez – showed signs that he is declining.

“If you watch his tapes and you’ve said there’s a big separation between the last three and the ones before that, I think he’s declining a little, yes…,” Roach said of Thurman’s recent form in the same video.

After his huge wins over Porter and Garcia, Thurman underwent surgery in 2017 to repair his bothersome right elbow injury, which sidelined him for almost two years.

He made his comeback fight on January 26 this year against Lopez.

The fight is a solid candidate for Fight of the Year as it featured furious exchanges between two fighters. Boxing experts thought the fight exposed Thurman’s game since Lopez almost knocked him down in the 7th round of the fight and really pressured him as the fight progressed.

Fighting the smart way

While Pacquiao has built a reputation as a sensational KO artist, Roach believes KO-hunting won’t help his ward much in the fight.

He insisted that they plan to attack Thurman in a strategic approach, looking to outbox and outpace their opponent right from the first round.

Moreover, the famous trainer doesn’t think Thurman has the stamina to outlast Pacquiao should the fight turns into an all-out brawl. Like the American did in his last three fights, Roach feels Thurman will resort to backpedaling in the later rounds once he absorbs punishment from Pacquiao.

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