Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton – Who Wins?

by James Slater: According to promoter Bob Arum, a Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton super-fight could take place next year. “There is a possibility we could fight Ricky Hatton next year. That remains to be seen, ” Arum said not too long after his fighter had destroyed the game David Diaz to annex the WBC lightweight belt. Talk about a fight that would do absolutely huge business!

A lot has to be done before this fight can be made – such as Hatton having to get past Paulie Malignaggi in their November meeting and “Pac-Man” having to come through unscathed against whoever it is he faces in his next fight at the end of this year – but if things go well “The Hitman” and “Pac-Man” could be swapping punches some time in 2009. Who will win?

Judging by the way Pacquiao looked last night against Diaz, when he climbed through the ropes weighing 147 pounds, the 29-year-old superstar will have no problem being effective at the 140 pounds he would weigh ( at least officially) for a clash with Hatton. Just as fast as ever, just as strong and having no stamina problems against a big lightweight in Diaz, Pacquaio looked the best he ever has looked. And Hatton is no huge light-welterweight.

Standing only an inch taller than Pacquiao at 5’7.5,” Hatton actually has a shorter reach than the Filipino at 65″ for Ricky and 67″ for Manny. And though Hatton also fights at a much higher weight than what he tipped the scales at once he gets in the ring, chances are Pacquiao would not be too much lighter than the man from Manchester once the bell rang. In all reality, and perhaps quite amazingly considering he began his pro career down at a mere 106 pounds, the fight looks a winnable one for the five weight world champion.

Manny is at or about his very peak. Ricky, judging by the number of hard punches he was unable to avoid in his last fight, Vs. Juan Lazcano, is already on the slide at least somewhat. Pacquiao looks the much faster fighter, he looks the harder puncher and he is a southpaw to boot. Remember the massive problems Hatton had with Luis Collazo – also a lefty? Well, Pacquiao, although he would be moving up in weight yet again, would hit “The Hitman” a lot harder than Collazo did.

Hatton would push Pacquiao more than David Diaz did, at least he would in this writer’s opinion. But at this early stage the fight looks like one the 29-year-old Ricky would struggle badly in. Never hard to hit and with his bad lifestyle already beginning to catch up with him – at least according to a good number of experts – Hatton would really have to put on a punch-perfect performance to have a shot at derailing the incredible fighting machine we all saw on Saturday night in Las Vegas. It remains to be seen how Pacquiao would react to Hatton’s best punch – his left hand to the body – but Pacquiao is no slouch when it comes to body punching himself.

I can see Hatton bulling forward at the 1st bell, attempting to impose his physical strength on the man invading his weight class, only to realise that he is getting hit plenty as he advances. With Pacquiao’s own attacks remaining as strong as the rounds go on, and with the Filipino dynamo hitting him with more and more regularity, perhaps busting his face up the same way he did Diaz,’ Hatton will slowly be worn down. Possessing a ton of heart, Hatton would fight back as long as he is able, but before too long Pacquiao would break him down. He might not knock him flat the way he did Diaz, but if he didn’t “Pac-Man’s” ferocious combinations would likely get the TKO eventually.

I see an all-action fight in which Hatton would give his all but ultimately go out on his shield – probably in around eight or nine rounds. Let’s see if the fight gets made. Who wouldn’t want to see it?!