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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Roach says Hatton out in nine minutes

Freddie Roach is giving Manny Pacquiao nine minutes to put Ricky Hatton away on May 2 in Las Vegas.

“I told Manny I would be very disappointed in him if he didn’t have Hatton stopped by the third round,” Roach said in a message relayed to The STAR by Top Rank publicist Fred Sternburg yesterday.

A month ago, Roach said he’d be happy if Pacquiao knocks Hatton out within nine rounds, or almost the same distance Oscar dela Hoya managed against the Pinoy pound-for-pound champion.

But over the past few days, Roach had been singing new song – that Pacquiao will get it done and over with inside three rounds.

Boxing’s most sought-after trainer today must have seen something most people don’t in Hatton, leading to his bold, daring prediction.

“Hatton is not fundamentally sound as a fighter – he keeps his chin up. He is the perfect opponent for Manny,” he said.

“You’re going to hear a lot of glass breaking when Manny starts playing his chin music concerto on Hatton. You’re going to see who has the chops to play this masterpiece on May 2.”

Roach said Pacquiao will go for Hatton’s chin, saying “it’s the money shot.”

Roach also looked forward, saying Pacquiao may end up fighting Juan Manuel Marquez a third time, if negotiations for a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t move.

“If negotiations with Floyd don’t work out, I’m sure it’s Marquez. Where else do we have to go? I think there’s only two guys out there or maybe three – Floyd, Shane Mosley, but the weight is a little bit an issue there, and then Marquez. I don’t think we have a lot of options because nobody wants to see Manny fight a small fight,” he said.

The American trainer, locked in a raging word war with Hatton’s trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr., said Hatton’s unbeaten record at 140 lbs will be broken when the fight takes place at the MGM Grand.

Hatton’s only loss in 47 fights was at 147 lbs when he fought Floyd Jr. in 2007.

“A lot of people ask me if I’m worried about Manny fighting Hatton since Hatton has never lost a fight at 140 pounds. As long as Floyd Mayweather is in Hatton’s corner I have absolutely no concerns. It’s not like his brother Roger is training him. Floyd training Hatton for this fight is our biggest advantage.”

Mayweather Sr. countered by saying it’s Hatton who will win by knockout – also in three rounds.

Pacquiao is deep in training at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, and he might just run out of sparring mates the way he’s sending them home.

On his first day of sparring last March 17, he knocked out Armenian Art Hovhannesyan, and left the undefeated fighter bleeding from a one-inch cut over his left eye despite the headgear.

Last Tuesday, Pacquiao hurt another fighter, Irishman Gary Young who went home with a busted nose.

“He did indeed send sparring partner Gary Young home. I was at their sparring session on Tuesday when Manny literally had Young out on his feet and bleeding from the nose,” said Sternburg in an e-mail.

The Top Rank publicist said there’s a new one coming in – junior welterweight Mike Alvarado (25-0, 18 KOs), from Denver, Colorado, when Pacquiao resumes sparring Saturday (today in Manila).


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