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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hatton gets Cuban lefty as sparmate

Erislandy Lara, a heavy-handed former world amateur champion from Cuba, has been tapped by the camp of Ricky Hatton to simulate Manny Pacquiao’s moves in preparation for the fast-approaching super showdown on May 2.

Hatton revealed that he did six rounds with the left-handed Lara when he began sparring last April 2 at the IBA Gym in Las Vegas, a private gym that also hosts Pacquiao’s workouts whenever he is around for a fight.

Lara has been described by Hatton as a “tough southpaw” and, like Pacquiao, he boasts of a sneaky and lethal left hand, the punch that has enabled him to rack up four straight wins with three knockouts since turning professional in July 2008.

“The twenty-five year old Cuban defector has only four fights, but in the two this writer has seen, Erislandy Lara is a prospect to watch. Lara against limited opposition, has shown nice hand speed, left-handed power, and technical soundness. His maturity and presence surpass the level of his competition,” wrote boxing scribe Ricardo Lois.

Meanwhile, Hatton told Gareth Davies of the Telegraph that he is right on track in training.

“I’m 10 pounds over the [140lb light-welterweight] limit at the minute, my diet is fantastic now, and you need that because there is nothing worse than doing a grueling training session and having to watch what you put in your mouth afterwards,” said Hatton.

“And there is no chance I’m overtraining. I feel very good, very relaxed and where I wanted to be at this point.”

Hatton said he has learned a lot from the catastrophic result of Oscar De La Hoya’s fight with Pacquiao, who pushed the Golden Boy to the brink of retirement last December with an overwhelming performance.

“De La Hoya was a prime example of that [losing too much weight too early]. Oscar is a great friend of mine, but he made mistakes before that fight. He got down too early and was unable to put the weight back on. What Oscar did makes me more determined not to make the same mistake. I’m 140lbs when I step on the scales and within hours I’m back to 148/149lbs.”

Hatton also took the opportunity to comment on the statements made by Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach about him not going past three rounds.

“I like the things Freddie is saying. Freddie is without doubt a nice man, who says very little generally, but not for this one. When people start to act out of character, it says to me that Floyd has got under his skin. For me, that is a good sign, of Freddie is getting his back up. But I don’t share Floyd’s comments that he is the ‘joke coach Roach‘. I have great respect for him, but I felt a bit insulted when he said in Los Angeles that Manny will win in three rounds.”


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