Morales, Barrera pick Pacquiao over Thurman

Morales, Barrera pick Pacquiao over Thurman

LAS VEGAS – Two of Manny Pacquiao’s greatest former rivals are siding with the Filipino icon in his welterweight title fight with Keith Thurman here Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).

Mexican boxing legends Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, both happily retired, are in town to help drum up interest in the bout set at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

On Thursday (Friday Manila time), the two former boxers — also rivals to each other — reunited in a roundtable discussion and, aided by an interpreter, gave their thoughts on the fight.

Both see a Pacquiao victory two days from now.

“It’s gonna be a complicate bout, no doubt about it,” Morales, who shared the ring with Pacquiao three times, told the media.

“But knowing Pacquiao, starting in the second round, that's when he's gonna try to charge,” he added.

Morales is one of the few boxers who have defeated Pacquiao, outpointing the Filipino star in 2005 during their first match. But Pacquiao won their rivalry when he knocked Morales out in their next two fights the following year.

He isn’t totally counting out Thurman, who holds the WBA “super” welterweight championship.

“I was very technical (against Pacquiao in our first fight). That's what Keith Thurman needs to do,” continued Morales, who retired in 2013 after compiling a record of 52-9, with 36 knockouts.

“It's either gonna be (a) decision (win for) Pacquiao or maybe a late knockout by Pacquiao.”

Likewise, Barrera — who hang up his gloves in 2011 with a record of 75-7, with 44 KOs— is picking Pacquiao to win but is interested in what Thurman will bring to the table.

“I think Manny Pacquiao (will win) by decision but we always have to take into account the plan that Thurman has. It could play a part,” said Barrera, who fought and lost to Pacquiao twice.

“Psychologically, fighting Pacquiao is tough,” he continued.

Both already Hall of Famers, Barrera and Morales are known for their epic trilogy — which Barrera won.

They were joined in the panel by former champion Ronald “Winky” Wright and current WBC welterweight titlist Shawn Porter.