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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trainers set contentious tone for Pacquiao-Hatton

Maybe Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton are simply too nice to trash-talk each other. Or maybe the fighters can't get a word in edgewise amid their trainers' verbal feud.

Cornermen Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather Sr. have been trading barbs since before the fight was signed in February. Their act comes to Las Vegas today as both fighters arrive for Saturday's junior welterweight showdown at the MGM Grand Garden.

"I don't like him," Roach, Pacquiao's trainer of eight years, said of Mayweather, who is training Hatton for the second time. "His childish poems. His second-grade-level insults. Sometimes, he'll get under my skin, so I'll fire back at him.

"But he's not going to make any difference in the fight. I have the better fighter. That's all I care about."

Mayweather, who has repeatedly called Roach "The Joke Coach," said the sniping is just part of the business of promoting a megafight.

"Look, I don't have nothing against Freddie," Mayweather said. "I really think Freddie's a nice guy. But right now, this is warfare. I'm looking out for my fighter, and I'm going to do whatever it takes for him to win."

Roach doesn't care for Mayweather the person. Does he respect Mayweather the trainer?

"No, I don't," he said. "His son (Floyd Mayweather Jr.) turned pro, his first 14 fights were (working) with his brother, Roger. Floyd had him (only) nine fights. Roger developed his son."

Mayweather said Roach can bad-mouth him all he wants.

"I don't give a damn what he says or does," Mayweather said. "Who has he really worked with? He had a lot of big fighters, and he hasn't done anything with them. He's got one man in his court -- Pacquiao. Who else do you know that he's got who he's done something with?

"I made my son. Who has he made? The guy ain't made anybody. Simple."

Roach, a three-time trainer of the year, said he's not going to brag about himself. But he laughs when Mayweather boasts about his own talents.

"The only one who calls Floyd the best is himself," Roach said. "He's the only one who says he's the best trainer in the world. He created that himself."

Mayweather said that he and Roach will patch things up between them after Saturday.

"When this fight's over, me and Freddie can shake hands and hug," Mayweather said.

Roach might shake hands with his adversary afterward. But hugs?

"I don't think so," he said. "The only one I'll be hugging is Manny."

NOTES -- Pacquiao will arrive at noon today at Mandalay Bay, with Hatton showing up at 1:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand. Both arrivals are open to the public. ... Middleweight James Kirkland is off Saturday's undercard after the Austin, Texas, resident was arrested April 19 on a federal gun possession charge in Austin. Kirkland (25-0, 22 knockouts) had hoped to appear on the card despite his arrest, but a judge denied his request to travel to Las Vegas. Daniel Jacobs (15-0, 14 KOs), who stopped Jose Varela in a fight Friday, has replaced Kirkland as the opponent for Michael Walker (19-1-2, 12 KOs). The fight will be eight rounds instead of the originally scheduled 10.


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