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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

KO artist joins Pacquiao’s team

Manny Pacquiao has added another personnel to beef up his training team for his May 2 duel with Ricky Hatton with the acquisition of Mike Alvarado, a rugged super-lightweight (140-lbs) prospect from Denver who trainer Freddie Roach said has the quality to force the Filipino to be on his toes all the time in sparring.

Roach tapped Alvarado, holder of a 25-0 win-loss record with 18 knockouts, to join a star-studded lineup of sparmates that also includes undefeated lightweight (135 lbs) star Urbano Antillon and welterweight (147 lbs) Raymond Serrano of Philadelphia, who has a 9-0 slate with five knockouts under his belt.

During Tuesday’s (Wednesday in Manila) session, Pacquiao and Alvarado worked out for three rounds and Mike Koncz, a senior adviser in Pacquiao’s camp, noted that while the sparring was intense, “they were still trying to feel each other out.”

“Manny’s on training mode right now and he’s very focused,” said Koncz, adding that aside from Alvarado, Pacquiao also took on Antillon and the 19-year-old Serrano to further hike the number of sparring rounds as he prepares to enter the most crucial phase of his preparation next week.

Alvarado is under contract with Top Rank and is slated to see action in the Pacquiao-Hatton undercard at the MGM Grand.

Alvarado’s arrival came on the heels of Hatton’s hiring of Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara, a former world amateur welterweight champion now fighting as a super-welterweight (154 lbs) in the professional ranks.

Lara, a talent of Golden Boy Promotions and Arena Promotions based in Hamburg, Germany, is a 5-foot-8 hard-hitter with Pacquiao-like moves specially with the left hand.

Hatton and Lara kicked off sparring that lasted six rounds last week at the IBA Gym in Las Vegas, the same facility that Pacquiao utilizes whenever he is in Sin City.

Meanwhile, Top Rank head Bob Arum told the Bulletin that Pacquiao is hosting a media day on April 15 at the Wild Card.

It’s not as if the Pacquiao-Hatton fight needs another event to drum up more interest for the scheduled 12-rounder but the Hall of Fame promoter believes the media day is going to fire up the supporters of each camp.

“The attention we’ve been getting is incredible, much better than while we were doing the (Pacquiao versus) De La Hoya fight (last year),” said Arum, who will actually be in Manila from April 17 to 20 to preside over the Nonito Donaire-Raul Martinez world title match at the Araneta Coliseum in the morning of April 19.


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