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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hatton should be ready for Pacquiao, says coach Ariza

MANILA, Philippines – Ricky Hatton, beware.

A stronger and faster Manny Pacquiao is expected to climb the ring a week from now for his 12-round title fight with Hatton at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, much even better than the one who sent boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya from permanent retirement.

Alex Ariza, Pacquiaos’ soft-spoken conditioning coach, certified it after having seen the Filipino boxing superstar up close and personal working out in his training camp at the Wildcard Gym in Hollywood, California.

Ariza worked the physical conditioning of the 30-year old Pacquiao in his last two fights against former World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion David Diaz and De La Hoya, both of which he won by stoppage in the late rounds.

“Manny’s going to be so much more powerful and we’re making sure that Manny will be stronger that night," he said. “He’s so much stronger than he was in the De La Hoya camp."

The slugfest with De La Hoya was fought at 147 pounds, while the one with Hatton will be at 140.

“So, medyo bumaba siya ng timbang kaya mas lalo pang lumabas ‘yung bilis at lakas niya," Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez butted in. “Kasi iba ‘yung galaw mo nung 147 ka lang na mini-maintain mo lang yun. Eh ngayon, biglang bumaba siya kaya gumaan yung katawan niya."

While known for his reputation as a puncher, Hatton’s punching power doesn’t concerns Ariza a bit. “Ricky’s punch? That’s gonna be the least of Manny’s worries considering the numbers of sparring partners that he’s had."

In the seven weeks that he’s been in training camp, Pacquiao had a total of seven sparmates, four of them at one time were also knocked down by the General Santos City native.

Pacquiao’s main sparring partner Urbano Antillon is a good technical fighter who punished the “Pacman" to the body frequently during sparring days, a technique Hatton has been known for following his “single shot to the body" wins over Luis Collazo and Jose Luis Castillo.

Ariza doesn’t see Pacquiao suffering the same fate against the “Hitman" from Manchester, England.

“Urbano is such a technician to the body," said Ariza. “If you can handle Urbano for five rounds going to your body, then not even flinch, then Hatton can’t bring anything Manny hasn’t seen in this camp."

“Watching him these last few weeks with his sparring partners, he’s literally hurting them every time he gets them."

Ariza said making the weight limit won’t be a problem for the Filipino, whom he said is planning to come in at 148 pounds during fight night.

“I think that’s good. But definitely, nothing more than 148," he said.

So where does he think Pacquiao is right now with eight days to go before the fight?
“I’m rating him at a hundred percent," said Ariza. – GMANews.TV


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