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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fight will be short and sweet

MANILA, Philippines - Those hoping for a long, bitter struggle between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton on May 2 won’t get it.

“It’s going to be short and sweet,” said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, during Monday’s red-carpet meeting between the two great boxers and their trash-talking handlers in Hollywood.

Roach said it could or should be over in three rounds.

“I think it’s going to be the best three rounds you’ve ever seen. Ricky is going to force the action and Manny is going to respond to it. But Manny is going to get him early and I believe he will knock him out in the early rounds.”

Even Mark Wahlberg, the rapper, actor, endorser and producer rolled into one said during the press conference he doesn’t expect the fight to last the distance.

The 38-year-old celebrity, who ran a series of underwear ads for Calvin Klein before he became a movie star, is Roach’s friend, and is obviously rooting for Pacquiao.

“Freddie is the best,” said Wahlberg who visited Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym as the latter trained for his Oscar dela Hoya fight last December.

“We know what he did to Dela Hoya and he’s going to do the same to Hatton. Obviously, the winner will fight Floyd Mayweather (Jr.),” he said in a video clip posted on the net by Lance Pugmire of the LA Times.

The world is waiting for that Pacquiao-Mayweather fight although Bob Arum, the promoter of the Pinoy icon, and Roach are not too keen on fighting the ex-pound-for-pound champion.

But Pacquiao could be open to anything.

“For me – if I’m Floyd – I would fight a tune-up fight and then fight me,” Pacquiao told “That’s for me, but I don’t know what his plan is. He might want to fight me right away.”

“I think he’s going to fight again. He’s not really retired,” added Pacquiao of the American who retired last year undefeated in 39 fights.

During the same press conference, Roach traded jabs with Hatton’s trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr.

“Pacquaio’s going to go from first class to coach, because of the Roach,” said Mayweather Sr., so flamboyant he can move around in a pink suit.

Then, according to reports, chants of “Man-ny! Man-ny!” filled the room, and Pacquiao, as if on cue, took the microphone by saying “I fight for freedom. I fight for Scotland” the way it was delivered by actor Mel Gibson in his epic film “Braveheart.”

“They’ve got Roach in the Hall of Fame (when) he should be in the Hall of Shame,” added Mayweather Sr.

Roach didn’t take it sitting down.

“Floyd can read some good poems that’s all he’s good at that I know of. What has Floyd Senior achieved? His son’s a natural-born fighter. His brother, Roger, trained him anyway. Floyd never trained his son for a world title fight. He tells me he’s the greatest but what has he done? He trained Oscar De La Hoya after Oscar has already won four world titles. Floyd is a legend in his own mind,” said Roach on the TimesOnline. - By Abac Cordero (Philstar News Service,


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