by James Slater – Manny Pacquiao, who has just officially vacated his WBC lightweight championship, will be made the organisation’s number-one contender for the 140-pound title, it has been declared by president Jose Sulaiman – if he can beat Ricky Hatton in their huge May 2nd showdown. “Pac-Man” and “The Hitman” will battle for no major alphabet title in May (instead duelling over the far more valued Ring magazine belt), but there will be few if any people out there willing to dispute the fact that the winner is the best in the world at light-welterweight. Therefore the WBC’s announcement is unlikely to annoy or upset anyone..
What it may mean, should the Filipino dynamo get past Hatton, is that we will see Pacquiao going in with either Timothy Bradley or Kendal Holt – who meet on April 4th in a fight that will see “Desert Storm” defending his WBC 140-pound crown. Pacquiao against either Holt or Bradley is no super-fight, but such a bout would be worth seeing all the same. Certainly, the unbeaten Bradley and the talented Holt (who currently holds the WBO light-welterweight belt) would jump at the chance of such a huge, career-defining opportunity.
First, though, Pacquiao must beat Hatton. WBC president Sulaiman believes it will be a very hard fight for the southpaw, saying that both he and Hatton are great fighters.
“Let me tell you,” Don Jose said. “If he [Pacquiao] beats Ricky Hatton, he will be the number one and official challenger of the WBC for the title of the super-lightweight division. I think Ricky Hatton is a great fighter. He can beat anybody of his weight. But I believe the same thing about Manny Pacquiao. Manny is a great fighter, and he can defeat boxers of different divisions. As simple as that! He’s a type of Henry Armstrong!
“Ricky Hatton comes into the ring to win. He moves forward, throws combinations of four or five punches and then he hugs the rival and stops him from countering. That is a very difficult style to defeat. Mayweather didn’t let him do that, so it depends on Manny.”
It sounds as though Sulaiman expects as tough and as gruelling a fight as the rest of us. Should “Pac-Man” win – and he is a slight favourite, it seems, to do so – a fight against either Bradley or Holt would perhaps be seen as something of a letdown. The fans, after all, want to see Pacquiao in as many super-fights as possible before he finally retires. Winning yet another world title would surely please Manny – a fighter who has always tried his best to adhere to the WBC’s wishes – and who knows, maybe either “Rated R” or Bradley would give him a much rougher ride than many fans would perhaps expect.
The WBC made no statement as to where Hatton would be ranked if HE were to win on May 2nd – but fair being fair, Ricky should surely be ranked at WBC #1 at 140 if he were to beat Pacquiao?