By Ziggy Shah – Billy the Kid had it when he was causing chaos in the 1870’s; Usain Bolt used it to shatter world records, and in the run up to the May 2nd showdown, Freddy Roach had been talking about it – speed. It is an important element in any boxer’s armoury, as it can denote the difference between hitting and getting hit. However, in boxing there are two kinds of speed. There is the artistic, poetic type, like what Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard had when they graced the world in their ‘Floating Days.’ It was beautiful to watch, and audiences across the globe were transfixed.
And then, you have the furious form of speed like that of Manny Pacquiao. It is constant, aggressive and brutal in its existence, and like a typhoon it sweeps aside any object, moveable or unmovable. Every split movement connotes the notion, “That I am here, and all hell will freeze over before I leave..”
And in the ring at MGM Grand on Saturday night, Ricky Hatton stood firm as he waited for precisely this storm, which had already devastated neighbouring Mexico while getting bigger and bigger. However, when it arrived, it was calm as it kneeled in the ring corner to offer its prayers to its lord and creator.
Yet, the tranquillity was not to last, and as the innocent bystanders and the chief second’s stepped out of the ring, the storm began to intensify in speed and ferocity. It attacked mercilessly from all angles, and within six minutes it had swept aside the resistance of the courageous Englishman.
Many had predicted the outcome, but there were those who believed that Hatton could do it. He was the naturally bigger man and had been unbeaten at the weight. But on the night, his dreams of becoming “Pound for Pound” king were blown away like a pack of cards caught in a hurricane.
The promised change in his style by Hatton and his trainer was not evident. Neither was there any substance in his performance that would allow his name, in the future, to be mentioned in the same sentence with Marquez, Mayweather and Pacquioa.
He waged forward like he always did successfully against the scores of domestic names he fought in his early days. However, in the elite league, brute force alone does not ensure you victory. This was a mistake he made against Mayweather and he carried out the same suicide tactics against Pacquiao on Saturday night. Was it a lack of respect for his opponents? Or maybe he knows no other way to fight. I will let you decide.
But whatever happens to Hatton in his career, I am sure of one thing, he will box again, because he will not want to leave on a losing note. Also, he still has a legion of fans that will follow him domestically, which entails box office sales, and that, in turn, signals revenue. Therefore, you can expect to see him fill out MEN Manchester in the near future, either against Khan or his archenemy, Junior Witter, in a domestic ‘fight of the year.’
As for Manny Pacquiao, he is once again looking towards the western plains for possible targets. He sees two shady figures in the horizon; one wants ‘revenge,’ while the other calls for ‘recognition’. Come July 18th, we will know which one of these men will face up to speed and ferocity of the Pac-man.
‘Billy the Kid’ may indeed have had the fastest hands in the West, but now the conqueror is from the East, and what he carries are not pistols, but two fists that can cause all-out fury, which not even Pat Garret could have confined.