Manny will have no one but Hatton on his mind

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — That’s the principle Manny Pacquiao vows to adopt once training camp for his May 2 showdown with the ‘Hitman’ from Manchester begins next week at the Wild Card gym in Los Angeles.

The world pound-for-pound fighter made the assurance shortly after departing for London early Friday morning for the promotional tour of the fight between two of boxing’s biggest punchers today.

“Once I report for training camp at the Wild Card gym under my very capable trainer Freddie Roach, my sole focus will be training,” said Pacquiao shortly before boarding the Cathay Pacific flight that will take him to the English capital.

“I will be eating, breathing and living Ricky Hatton from the day I start my training camp,” said the pride of General Santos City.

Pacquiao’s entourage is consists of Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez, close adviser Michael Konz and legal counsel Jing Gacal. The group will have a brief stopover in Hong Kong before proceeding to London where Top Rank Promotion head Bob Arum and Roach will join them on their way to Manchester.

The tour for the 12-round title fight set at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada kicks off at the Great Hall of the Trafford Centre in Manchester, home to the Hattons.

Pacquiao said he doesn’t mind getting a hostile reception in his first ever visit to London, where Hatton is immensely popular as the queen herself.

“I know that I will enjoy every minute of my brief stay there as I have heard a lot of great things about England, its notable people, its amazing culture and its proud history,” said Pacquiao in his pre-departure statement.

Following the fan rally Saturday (UK time), Pacquiao and Hatton will reportedly engage in a friendly darts competition the following day, before facing the London media in a press conference on Monday.

Then it’s off to the US for both fighters where a similar promotional tour will be held in the cities of Las Vegas, New York and San Francisco.

The start of the rigorous eight-month training begins by next week.

Pacquiao has great respect for the 30-year old Hatton, a former light-welterweight and welterweight champion of the world, whom the Filipino described as one of the ‘world’s most exciting fighters.’

“Hatton is a very dangerous opponent as I have seen most of his high-caliber fights on video and you cannot take somebody like him lightly,” said Pacquiao.

Up against an opponent who like him, is still at the peak of his career, the Filipino southpaw vowed to even train hard than the way he did against Oscar De La Hoya, whom he demolished in eight rounds during their welterweight fight last December in Las Vegas.

“This is going to be a big challenge for me. This early, I am confident in saying that I will train harder for Hatton and I won’t be surprised if I end up in a much better shape than when I fought the legendary Oscar De La Hoya last December.” Pacquiao added.