01.05.09 – By Robert Jackson: One day before the superfight of 2009 and one just has to wonder about this fight, so lets talk about how this fight will play out. Ricky Hatton pride of Manchester, England, U.K. 45-1 comes into this fight as the recognized best 140lb fighter. Prior to this fight Hatton released long time trainer Billy Graham then retained Floyd Mayweather Sr. to train him for his fight against Paulie Malignaggi..
Small but noticeable improvements were shown during that fight, including, an educated jab, head movement, controlled aggression and better defense and in winning Hatton was more the boxer than Malignaggi. Hatton tried his best to implement the new things that he was learning in the gym and refrain from returning to the brawling style that he was known for. I gave Hatton a C+/B- for that performance.
For his 2nd fight under Mayweather’s tuteledge what can we expect? With the added dimensions to Hatton’s game and the tough training administered by Floyd Joy, Hatton should be able to hang with Pacquiao early and into the middle rounds. Manny Pacquiao favorite son of General Santos City, Phillipines 48-3-2, has evolved into the best fighter in the world under the coaching of Freddie Roach. Roach has turned the former one handed phenome into boxing’s best. Pacquiao’s combination of speed and power is unmatched for a man his size and now the kid can box. Nuances of the sweet science have been taught and honed into the Fillipino Fox, cleverness and guile have also crept into Pacquiao’s game.
Pacquiao is primed and ready to replace the Golden Boy as boxing’s premier attraction. But lets not get ahead of ourselves I couldn’t help but notice while watching HBO’s Pacquiao/Hatton 24/7 how calm, confident and conditioned Hatton is, while also noticing how hectic things are for Pacquiao. The HBO series also chronicled the fate of several of Pacquiao’s sparring partners who Pacman pummelled during sparring sessions. As a seasoned fight fan when I see a guy constantly beating up sparring partners I think about the old-time trainers speaking about a fighter leaving their fight in the gym and having nothing on fight night for Pacquiao’s sake I hope this is not the case. While Pacqiao’s hectic schedule has kept him occupied Hatton was quietly working with Mayweather Sr first for a month in Manchester and then a month before the fight until the present in Las Vegas. Hatton has kind of been under the radar except for the 24/7 documentary appearences. All this being said, I’ve always thought that Hatton was overrated and that Pacquiao is the REAL DEAL, this I still believe. But for a fight of this magnitude FOCUS is the most important indicator of a fighters desire and chances of winning, and with Pacquiao his attention has been diverted to too many other things outside of boxing.
I also detect a bit over overtraining and underestimation of Hatton in Pacquiao’s camp. I also know that a fighter needs to feel disrespect or slighted in some way, NOT LOVED, before a fight to have the contempt for, and intent of, beating up his opponent. While Hatton has been living adversely away from his family and friends, Pacquiao is surrounded by the love of all of his faithful while training hard but living comfortably.
Here are my keys to the fight, Hatton with 12 weeks of work with Mayweather Sr. should be more improved and boxing ready than his showing against Malignaggi. He also seems to be MORE focused than Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao has developed into a supreme fighter but still gets hit too much against fighters of his own elk and pedigree (JM. Marquez). Hatton won’t fold under Pacman’s pressure and volume punching he will pick his spots and counter Manny successfully. Going against the general consensus I’m picking Hatton to win by 9th round TKO over Manny Pacquiao.