by James Slater – Anyone who’s anyone has had something to say about the super-fight that is now mere hours away. Leading up to the potential thriller that is Ricky Hatton Vs. Manny Pacquaio, we have heard and read a whole bunch of differing predictions from the fans and the so-called experts. Some say “Pac-Man” will win big, possibly inside a few rounds, while others claim “The Hitman” will win the biggest fight of his career..
You can make of these predictions what you wish, but the fact that there are so many people chiming in with their two cents just shows you how big an event tonight’s light-welterweight showdown really is.
Here, in what will likely be one of the final Pacquiao-Hatton pre-fight articles on this site, I list ten expert opinions you may or may not have read before. Ranging from reigning world champions, to trainers and contenders in other weight classes, these ten guys give their say on what will happen tonight.
1. Timothy Bradley, WBO light-welterweight champ (speaking to this writer):”I think it’s a very interesting and entertaining fight. I would say it’s pretty much a pick ’em fight. The way to beat Pacquiao, you’ve got to put pressure on him and out-work him. The thing that worries me about Hatton is he sometimes tends to leap in with shots. I think if he does that Pacquiao will use his speed and counter him. Even though Hatton’s the bigger guy I think Pacquiao’s movement and counter-punches will frustrate Hatton and make him get wild. Hatton cannot be counted out though.”
2. Oscar De La Hoya, former multi-weight world champion (speaking to Sky Sports): “When I fought Manny Pacquiao I was not a solid, primed welterweight. I was a weak, drained, can’t-throw-punches type of fighter. Ricky Hatton is the real deal, the overall package with all-round skills. He’s aggressive, he’s strong and he’s fast. I think he can not shock the world, but win. It’s not [going to be] a shock, it will be a win.”
3. DeMarcus Corley, former WBO light-welterweight champion (speaking to this writer): “This fight will not go the distance. I see definitely see Manny Pacquiao winning. I’d say he knocks Ricky Hatton out in around eight or nine rounds.”
4. Billy Graham, former trainer of Hatton (speaking to Setanta Sports): “I fancy Ricky, big. I’m really surprised Manny Pacquio is the betting favourite. I think Ricky’s the better fighter. I think Ricky matches Manny for speed, and he’s a lot bigger than him. Manny’s a good southpaw, but Ricky has the tools to deal with a southpaw. I think Ricky’s just too big, too fast, too powerful and too good. I see Ricky winning spectacularly, in four to eight rounds.”
5. Cedric Boswell, heavyweight contender (speaking to this writer): “I think Hatton may pull it off. He’s rugged and there’s no way he’s going to sit back and let Manny be artistic. Hatton will rough him up because he’s the naturally bigger man. I see Ricky Hatton winning the fight.”
6. Joe Calzaghe, former super-middleweight and light-heavyweight champion (speaking to Sky Sports): “Ricky can win but it’s going to be tough. Manny’s an excellent fighter but he’s been knocked out twice. So there has to be a lot of belief that Ricky can win this fight. He’s going to be bigger and stronger. He has to impose himself, get inside and rough him up and hit him with body shots. Can he do that? That’s the big question. He has a very good chance.”
7. Jamie Cox, British welterweight prospect (speaking to this writer): “I definitely think Hatton can win this. With Floyd Mayweather Senior training him, Ricky’s got his left jab back working great and his boxing skills are really looking good. I think Ricky does this, probably on points.”
8. Sugar Shane Mosley, reigning WBA welterweight champion (speaking to Sky Sports): “I think they match up pretty well. It’s going to be a great fight, with Manny Pacquiao being the better boxer and Ricky Hatton being a little stronger. I’m kind of leaning towards Pacquiao right now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hatton pulls it off. He’s been looking very good in training and I think he’s going to do a good job.”
9. Vinny Maddalone, heavyweight fan favourite (speaking to this writer): “I know Pacquiao’s the favourite, but I’ve got to go with Ricky. Ricky’s hungry and I think he’ll stop Pacquiao late in the fight. I think he’s improved under Floyd Mayweather Senior. He has more head movement and a batter defence now. Ricky’s whole thing is pressure, and pressure can change a guy’s whole game-plan. Pacquio has all the heart in the world, but I go with Hatton in around the ninth or tenth round.”
10. Claude Abrams, editor Boxing News magazine: (predicting in the magazine) “I wouldn’t be surprised if both men were to hit the floor or get wobbled. We shouldn’t eliminate the possibility of cuts, either. Hatton hasn’t suffered serious injuries as of late, but Pacquio often wades in, head down and carelessly. Assuming injuries do not play a significant part, I foresee a fabulous battle. I lean towards the man with the superior mobility and agility to use his stiff hitting, southpaw awkwardness, accuracy, handspeed and volume to prevail in a battle I suspect we will be talking about for years to come.”
Total: Hatton 6, Pacquiao 4.