Hatton upset unlikely--Roach

LAS VEGAS - Victory by Ricky Hatton over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday would represent the greatest achievement of the Briton's career, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach has said.

Roach, however, does not expect Hatton to pull off an upset against the Filipino southpaw who is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

"I think he's made for my guy," Roach told reporters at the MGM Grand on Thursday. "Speed for us is the key. Not just hand speed, it's foot speed that's going to win.

"If you stand in front of Ricky, you let him fight his fight. If you put yourself on the ropes, he's very good on the ropes and you put yourself in danger.

"So lateral movement, side to side, not getting trapped on the ropes is vital to us."

Roach believes Pacquiao's other big advantage is his unpredictable movement which makes it difficult for opponents to anticipate incoming punches or to land blows of their own.

"Manny's very hard to time," he said. "You don't know when he's coming or going. I'm sure that's what they've prepared for, but I don't think he has the ability to cope with that speed."

No underestimation

However, Roach says he is not underestimating the track record or the ability of Hatton, 45-1 (32 KOs), who will defend his IBO light-welterweight title against the Filipino.

"He's a multi-time world champion and he has some good wins. He beat Kostya Tszyu (to win the IBF light-welterweight title in June 2005), which I think was his best win to date, but that was a long time ago.

"He's beaten some good guys and he's a world-class fighter, there's no doubt about that. Ricky has his country behind him, he's proud and he believes in himself. He has all the attributes a champion is supposed to have."

Although Hatton and Pacquiao, 48-3-2 (36 KOs), have been reluctant to throw verbal barbs at each other in the fight build-up, the same has not been true of their corner men.

Hatton's trainer Floyd Mayweather Snr. has repeatedly referred to his opposite number as Freddie 'The Joke Coach' Roach and even 'Cockroach'.

Roach conceded such insults had bothered him in the past.

"I got mad a little bit sometimes with 'Cockroach' and all that stuff," he said. "I used to beat kids up for saying that in second grade, but I'm not going to beat up Floyd."

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