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Hernandez has unbridled partner in ring

LAS VEGAS -- Super featherweight champion Carlos Hernandez will have his wife, psychologist, and manager in his corner. All rolled into one.

Hernandez puts his International Boxing Federation belt on the line tonight against World Boxing Council 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 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 1997.

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 said.

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.

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