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Roach says he could have helped Hatton

Freddie Roach Ricky HattonBy Sean McDaniel: Trainer Freddie Roach thinks he could have helped former International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton if he had come to him three years ago, according to an article from writer Gareth Davies of The Telegraph. “He [Hatton] has suffered two bad knockouts, to the two top fighters [Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao] of this generation, but if he had come to me a few years ago, I could really have worked with him.”

Perhaps Roach could have, but there are no guarantees that Roach would have made any significant improvements on Hatton’s style. What made Hatton good was his ability to work on the inside and basically overwhelm his opponents with his power shots. If Roach were to have tinkered with what had made Hatton a world class athlete, we might very well have ended up with a fighter that was middle of the road.

Hatton wasn’t blessed with the hand speed of Pacquiao and Amir Khan, two of Roach’s success stories. Hatton doesn’t have the long legs, great foot movement to run around the ring like Khan to avoid having his chin tapped. Even with Khan, we still don’t know if Roach’s change of his style will mean success for Khan in the future. He could end up getting flattened in his next fight with the big hitter Marcos Maidana.

Roach says “Ricky has had a great career, he has been in some real wars, and is a great fighter. I think I could really have done something with him.” Roach could have done something with Hatton, but it may not have been beneficial for Hatton. Ricky already knows how to throw a right hook, and is good at punching with either hand.

Roach helped Pacquiao develop his right hand and taught him to throw a right hook. However, Hatton is already skilled at throwing left hooks. Indeed, Hatton has one of the best left hooks in the business. Other than teaching Hatton to avoid being so aggressive and wide open with his offense, I have my doubts that Roach would have been able to make much of an impact on Hatton to the point where he would be a better fighter.

It’s easy to say now after the fact what he could have done with Hatton, but I have my doubts it would have been a positive change for him. When you have a fighter like Hatton, a slugger, and start tinkering with his style, the outcome might not be a positive one.

If Khan can get by his next opponent Maidana, Amir could be facing Hatton in the near future, possibly in 2010. If that happens, Roach would be training Khan to beat Hatton’s style. Roach helped Pacquiao train for Hatton in their fight in May 2009, which Hatton lost by a 2nd round knockout.

However, Khan isn’t Pacquiao, and the things that Pacquiao was able to do with Hatton may or may not be beyond the reach of Khan. If Hatton can get to Khan and force him to fight on the inside at close range, it could spell defeat for the young Khan. You would expect that Roach would have Khan moving a great deal in the fight against Hatton. This would work for awhile, but Hatton is good at cutting off the ring and he’d catch up to Khan eventually with something big.

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