Hatton camp in turmoil heading into fight

Kevin Iole

LAS VEGAS – Two days before Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton are to meet in the year's biggest boxing match, a representative of Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach had a conversation with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer about the possibility of Roach training Hatton in Hatton's next fight.

Roach's agent, Nick Khan, had heard of rumors of discontent between Hatton and his trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. In a telephone conversation with Schaefer, Khan suggested that Roach would be interested in training Hatton.

"Richard and I were speaking on the phone, though I'm not sure who called who, and I told him how much respect Freddie has for Ricky," said Khan, who is Pacquiao's former co-manager. "I suggested that after Manny defeats Ricky on Saturday, which is Freddie's priority, that we sit down and discuss the possibility of Freddie getting together and working with Ricky."

A source close to Roach said Schaefer had indicated that Hatton was miserable with Mayweather and was unhappy that Mayweather had arrived late for several workouts.

Schaefer adamantly denied telling anyone he knew of problems between Hatton and Mayweather and said Thursday he was surprised to hear of it from a reporter.

He did say that when he was speaking with Khan that Khan told him Roach was interested in training not only Hatton but also Victor Ortiz, another Golden Boy fighter.

Mayweather didn't deny that there had been friction between he and Hatton, but said it was nothing out of the ordinary and wasn't anything that would affect his working relationship with Hatton or the fight Saturday.

Mayweather grinned and said, "you could be on the right track," when asked if he had problems with Hatton co-trainer Lee Beard, but was more blunt in discussing problems between Hatton and himself. He said he didn't want to identify them in the media, but he didn't deny they had issues.

"I addressed the situation and the problems I had with him," Mayweather said Thursday. "I addressed things with him. I let him know I don't play that, don't do that. He knows now. I won't disrespect him. If I don't want someone else disrespecting me in no kind of a way, I'm not going to disrespect anybody else in no kind of a way. We have a very clear understanding between each other. I make sure I have a clear understanding with everybody I train because nobody is going to be jerking me around and I take no mess off nobody."

Hatton was not available to the media Thursday and couldn't be reached for comment. But he has consistently indicated that he's happy with Mayweather, whom he hired last summer after breaking with longtime trainer Billy Graham.

Schaefer said Roach "wants to train a lot of fighters," and said he maintained a good relationship with Roach, a three-time Trainer of the Year. However, Schaefer said he didn't have the same kind of close relationship with Hatton that he does with Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley and insisted that he never recommended trainers to them without being asked.

He said he had recommended Naazim Richardson at different times to both De La Hoya and Mosley. Mosley went with his suggestion and used Richardson in a Jan. 24 bout against Antonio Margarito, but De La Hoya instead hired Roach.

Roach said he'd heard rumblings of the discontent between Mayweather and Hatton and said he had heard Hatton became irate when Mayweather was late for numerous training sessions.

Roach, though, did not address Khan's conversation with Schaefer. Roach rarely pays attention to business dealings and instead relies upon Khan and his longtime friend, Billy Keane. Keane manages many of the fighters that Roach trains, though Keane does not manage Pacquiao.