JEFF Horn isn’t foolish enough to underestimate or disrespect the great Manny Pacquiao.
But the Australian is among those who feel the Filipino boxing legend has lost some of the killer instinct that helped him become an 11-time world champion — a fact he hopes to exploit in Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Battle of Brisbane.
Pacquiao amassed 38 knockout victories from his first 47 professional fights but hasn’t managed one since a 12th-round stoppage of Miguel Cotto in 2009. Since then the 38-year-old has nine decision victories and three losses.
Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, right, lands a right to the head of Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach this week suggested the trend coincided with the fact the devout Christian discovered god in 2009.
“When he found the Bible, he’d tell me, ‘I don’t have to hurt people, I can beat them by points’,” Roach told The Daily Telegraph.
“It has been really, really frustrating.”
Horn isn’t quite sure of that reasoning. All he knows is Pacquiao is not the ruthless fighter he once was.
Asked whether the legend has lost some of his aura in recent years, Horn told foxsports.com.au: “I think he had a bit more of a killer instinct in the past, where he would go for people.
“He’d be smelling blood and he’d jump on it straight away. I guess he’s lost that a little bit.
”I don’t know (why). With the religion side of things, I don’t think that would be on his mind in the ring.
“Maybe just going up weight divisions (to welterweight), it’s harder for him to do that but I don’t want to take anything away from him, he is an absolute champion and I want to beat him at his best.”
Horn felt Pacquaio was perhaps content with more conservative victories, especially given his philanthropy work in his homeland.
“He does get a lot of money when he wins and he helps a lot of people,” Horn said.
“I guess he seems himself as a saviour in a way so I think he just sees it as very important that he does win.”
Pacquiao has an estimated career earnings of more than $US500 million and schoolteacher Horn admits the pair come from different worlds.
The gap could narrow slightly, however, with reports Horn could make up to $1 million for this weekend’s fight — and even more if he wins it.
The fight being broadcast for free on ESPN in the US also opens the door for Horn to greatly boost his worldwide profile.
“It means a lot of people are going to be watching. At least they’ll know who I am, especially if I win,” Horn said.
“.. If I could make a million dollar out of this fight, that would be amazing, though I think a lot of things have to go right for that to happen. I have no idea what my pay’s going to be but I will definitely make millions in the future if I can win.
“Either way, I don’t think it‘s going to change me as a person.
“Maybe I’ll be able to upgrade my house and my car. Just live a bit nicer and not have to worry about the budget that you have to usually worry about with groceries and going out to dinner and movies and things like that.”
Horn, for the record, insists his killer instinct is well and truly in tact and he’ll go in for the kill against Pacquiao given the chance.
But he’d happily sign up for a decision victory now.
“I’ll take a win against Pacquiao now matter how I get it,” he said.
“But a KO is always good because that means he’s punching me less.”