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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ricky Hatton set for Manny Pacquiao loss and Amir Khan fight, says Freddie Roach

Roach, who trains both Pacquiao and Khan at his Hollywood Wild Card Gym, spoke exclusively to The Daily Telegraph, and said: "Hatton is close to the end of his career. If Manny does what I think he will do to Hatton, and if it all goes to plan, we will knock him out and bust him up.

"If that does happen, I would say Emir is close to a fight with Ricky, which is a huge fight in the UK, a sell-out. We have been working on Amir's mental game, and he is getting stronger all the time."

Khan is already poised to step up from the lightweight division to light-welterweight on June 27 to challenge Andreas Kotelnik for the World Boxing Organisation title. A victory in that contest would also bring the two British fighters, closer to a face-off.

Roach said: "We're almost ready to put Khan in against Hatton. We've been working on his mental game, making him spar and shadow box 12 rounds, and we want him to step up in competition.

"It's two fights away. In a Hatton-Khan fight, the winner would go on to bigger and better things; the loser would have to go away and think about doing something else.

"I like Ricky, I like his family, I believe in hard work. But you can't have everything you want. I think he is close to the end. So is Manny, come to that. They can fight more if they want to. But I don't think they will go on more than a year."

In Las Vegas, Hatton disagreed with Roach's assessment, convinced that he has the power to stop Pacquiao. Hatton told The Daily Telegraph that he regrets not having changed trainers sooner.

Hatton parted company with long-term trainer Billy Graham last year, replacing him with Floyd Mayweather Snr. It was Mayweather's son, his namesake, who gave Hatton his most horrific night in a ring in December 2007, and his only defeat in 47 pro fights.

"Who knows, the outcome in the Mayweather fight may have been different if I had changed training camps. Maybe I needed this move pre-Mayweather," Hatton said. "I feel a real impetus about my work now.

"Maybe I should not have been with Billy [Graham] when I fought Floyd Mayweather Junior. I made life easy for Floyd. If the Ricky Hatton of today who is moving his head, jabbing more, fighting with a more technical mix – rather than trying to steamroller opponents – had been against Floyd that night, maybe there would have been a better chance of beating him."

Hatton insists he sees weaknesses in Pacquiao. "Manny feints a lot, tries to draw you on to his punches, but does run in carelessly and puts all his eggs in one basket when he goes for that left hand. If he misses, he is wide open.

"A lot of people keep saying power and strength against speed. I'm not saying I'm quicker than Manny but I'm not far behind. I don't want that to backfire on me, but I'm absolutely convinced this fight against Manny is mine. I couldn't be more sure."


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