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Pacquiao vs Horn: Often overlooked intangible huge for Manny

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Sometimes, no matter how conditioned and flexible a fighter is, he'll run out of gas early in a fight or become tense.


A fighter, especially when he's fighting in an atmosphere that's bigger than he's accustomed, will suffer from an attack of nerves that sometimes suck all the energy and endurance out of him, putting that fighter in a compromising situation.

It's not difficult for a well-conditioned fighter to spar round after round in the gym, and still be relatively fresh, strong and sharp. 

However, when that fighter steps on to professional boxing's big stage and must perform under the bright lights and in front of thousands in attendance and potentially millions on TV for the first time , it often takes him a while for him to adjust.

On Saturday night when Manny Pacquiao faces Jeff Horn, the former will not only have an overall experience advantage and a perceived edge in skills, speed and power, he’ll have the important intangible of 'big fight experience' in his favor.

"This guy (Horn) has nowhere near the experience at all. This f***** (Horn) hasn’t walked out in front of 50,000 people, ever," stated Justin Fortune, Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, to FightNews.com recently.

“Nerves take a lot out of you when you fight. It’s actually terrible, there’s nothing you can do about it, happens to all of us. Nerves will sap the living s*** out of you. Manny’s done it, he’s used to it, it’s no big deal. Jeff’s not. I don’t think they’ve realized that.”

Justin is correct. Fighting in front of 50,000 live spectators and millions of TV viewers is nothing new to Manny. He's used to high pressure situations and is expected to be the far more relaxed of the two; especially early.

Don’t be surprised to see a) an over-anxious Horn who doesn't pace himself for twelve rounds or b) a stiff, sluggish challenger who is overly-defensive because he's too concerned about Pacquiao's offensive weapons and is sucking too much wind to throw punches in bunches.

Pacquiao vs Horn News
Date: July 1, 2017 (U.S.)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Braodcast: ESPN

Division: Welterweight
Title: WBO
Champion: Manny Pacquiao

When a fighter of Pacquiao's pedigree and experience on the big stage faces an opponent who has never partaken in a high-profile bout, it gives the former a huge advantage early.

Strategically, it would be wise for Manny to challenge Horn early and test his nerves. The longer the bout is extended, the greater the likelihood Horn will shake off any 'big fight' butterflies he’ll have and start fighting at a level closer to optimal.

(Video) Tyson vs McNeeley - The fighter who is used to participating in high-profile bouts is composed while his opponent, who had never previously fought on boxing's big stage, is fueled by nervous energy 

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