Boxing

Ricky Hatton Says He'll Look To Box Manny Pacquiao The Way He Did Malignaggi

by James Slater - While most, if not all, fight fans are expecting a furious war to take place in the ring when Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton collide in Las Vegas on May 2nd, Hatton himself says he just might surprise everyone and out-box "Pac-Man," much like he did fellow speedster Paulie Malignaggi when he met him last November. Hatton credits new trainer Floyd Mayweather Junior with the newfound patient version of "The Hitman" and said earlier today that had he met Maliganggi a few years earlier it would have been a totally different fight..

Knowing he needed to be able to cope with "The Magic Man's" blurring hand and foot speed, Hatton surprised his fans with his new, much more measured approach. Now, in going up with the also very fast Pacquiao, Hatton says he will look for a performance that is something similar.

Hatton began by commenting on how his style has changed since his great win over Kostya Tszyu, when he first became world champion.

"Kostya was a great punching powerhouse but I bulldozed him into submission," Hatton said. "But in my last fight against Malignaggi, who is a speed merchant, I ended up out-boxing him and out-speeding him. In the end I beat him up.

"The Ricky Hatton of old would have put his head down and steamed in at 100 miles per hour without a lot of thought on how to do it. I've no doubt Manny's speed will cause me problems but they said that about Malignaggi."

So, which version of Hatton will we see in the ring in May: the one that out-muscled and out-toughed Tszyu, or the smart fighter who out-boxed Malignaggi?

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach says he thinks Hatton will revert to his old self and brawl when the going gets tough on May 2nd - in the second half of the bout.

"It will be a great fight in the first half but Manny will get to him in the later rounds and will knock him out at some point," Roach said. "Ricky is very resilient but his come forward nature will walk him into some shots and that will get him out of there. He's tailor-made for us. I don't think you can change Ricky Hatton at this point in his career. Once he gets hit, he'll lose composure and revert to what he does best and that's fight."

Maybe Roach is right. After all, who can forget what former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson said when he declared that, "Everyone has a plan. Until they get hit."

It's safe to say "Pac-Man," who cracks a whole lot harder than Paulie Maliganggi, will hit Hatton. Let's see what happens when he does so.

Article posted on 02.03.2009



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