LAS VEGAS (AP) - Super featherweight champion Carlos Hernandez will have his wife, psychologist and manager in his corner. All rolled into one.
Hernandez puts his IBF belt on the line Saturday night against WBC champion Erik Morales in a title unification bout at the MGM Grand. Hernandez's
wife, Veronica, is not only his manager, but she also is his manager and a licensed psychologist.
"She's the complete package. She's a buddy of mine, and she's a sharp woman who helps me out business-wise," said Hernandez, whose boxing career went
into a tailspin after he lost a decision to Genaro Hernandez in their 1997 bout.
Veronica inspired her husband to fight his way back into the limelight.
"She's given me the support I needed. If it wasn't for her, I would have ended my career years ago and would be just another has-been," Hernandez
Veronica was confident her husband could make a comeback.
"His career was just lacking the promotion and the direction that you need to get a shot at the title," she said. "All I did was to give him support
and encourage him to keep fighting.
"At one point, he was fighting for practically no money, just to stay active."
The couple met a decade ago when Hernandez was training in Veronica's hometown of Monterrey, Mexico.
"I thought she was a very attractive woman, but I thought she was a bit conceited, so I didn't give her much attention," Hernandez recalled. "That's
what I think she liked - my not giving her the attention. I guess that was my strategy."
It worked, and got him more than just a wife.
"I think my role merges as manager and as a supportive wife. I'm in charge of everything. And I think ultimately, every wife manages her husband. It's
a managing job," she said, smiling.
Does she flinch when her husband gets punched?
"I can't let myself," she said, looking stern.
The 33-year-old Hernandez, from the Los Angeles suburb of Bellflower, will be a decided underdog against Morales, 27. Hernandez, labeled by promoter
Bob Arum as a Jake LaMotta-style brawler, is 40-3-1 with 24 knockouts.
Morales, from Tijuana, Mexico, also has held WBC featherweight and super bantamweight titles. He is 46-1 with 34 knockouts.
His lone defeat was by split decision to Marco Antonio Barrera in 2002. He had taken a split decision over Barrera two years earlier.
Morales doesn't think much of Hernandez as a boxer.
"I don't see him standing in the ring like a real fighter would. It took me a lot of years to get where I am, worked real hard to get the technique,
to learn how to punch, to learn how to do a lot of things," Morales said through a translator.
"When I see him, I don't see any of that. I don't see him moving like a fighter should. If all you have is desire and hope to get lucky to beat me,
you're not going to beat me. You have to have some skills to beat me, and I don't see it."
The undercard includes Rafael Marquez (31-3, 28 knockouts) defending his IBF bantamweight title against Heriberto Ruiz (31-2-2, 14 knockouts). Another
scheduled 12-rounder pits WBO light flyweight champion Ivan Calderon (19-0, four knockouts) against challenger Roberto Leyva (22-3-1, 19 knockouts).