Hitman Hatton Can't Hurt What He Can't Catch

Diamond BoxingContributor IJanuary 6, 2009

BY: Rota Em www.diamondboxing.com

2009 needs to be a year in which boxing is revived. I disagree with Joe Calzaghe, the sport isn’t dying, but on the other hand it isn’t living in luxury either. We’ll leave it at hungry, not yet starving.

One fight that can help to rejuvenate the sweet science is the “Hitman” going against the “Pacman." No, it’s not a game although some children might confuse it for such and rightfully so. But it’s really a showdown to lay claim to the 140 pound division.

Ricky Hatton has held his stake at the junior welterweight level his entire career and is set to face the current pound-for-pound kingpin Manny Pacquiao on May 2nd. His two vacations outside his 140-lb home in the 147-lb division were lackluster performances, at best. 147 pounds is just too heavy.

Pacquiao is looking for a fourth victory in as many divisions. He’s already solidified his place in the Hall of Fame, but this win will surely add extra bragging rights—not to mention an open window to a ‘fight of the decade’ against Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

In “The Dream Match” it was speed that factored in most for the Pacman. For Oscar, it should’ve been his reach. You knew it, you called it. In this match-up, reach will play the biggest role. And by reach I’m referring to Manny’s left hand lead.

In fighting David Diaz, who has a 69″ reach, Manny utilized his speed to chop down the then champion. In comparison, Pacquiao has a 5′6″ frame with a 67″ reach. Hatton is an inch taller, but loses two inches in reach to Pacquiao. Now two inches isn’t much, just ask Diaz, but two inches with lightning in the form of the left hand behind it will do considerable damage.

The last time Manny had a reach advantage was when he was mugged by Agapito Sanchez in a super bantamweight title fight in which I felt Sanchez should’ve been disqualified, this was 2001 and two months after 9/11. Or put it this way that was when Manny Pacquiao was not the consensus pound for pound king.

So add a couple great trilogies and genuine championship experience, and you’ll be worried if you are a Hatton fan (like myself). I followed Hatton throughout most of his career and I felt he has always been a crisp puncher. He always seemed small, physically, in the ring but he sure had some pop behind his punches. The diving hook that put Carlos Maussa to sleep came straight out of the classis Nintendo game “Punch Out”.

And the swirling sound your opponent made on his way to the canvas was what I heard when Maussa was draped across the ropes, helpless. Reach will do well for Manny, but Hatton has a good chance if he fights Pacquiao like he did Jose Luis Castillo.

In that fight the “Hitman” stalked his opponent and slowly worked on the body. It took him only four rounds to stop the highly durable Castillo. The result: a one punch knockout to the body. It can happen. It has happened. It might happen again. Body shots are well a part of today’s sweet science.

Which “Hitman” will show up? And how will his rough-house tactics work against a speed driven brawler like the “Pacman”? We can answer this question through facts, past fights, and fighter comparison, but it all comes down to styles.

I cannot think of one opponent that Manny has faced that remotely compares to Ricky Hatton, in stat or in size. The closest would have to be Diaz but there was no power behind those cannonballs of his. Ricky has power. And I can see Manny doing exactly what he did against Diaz to Hatton, and that’s because the Tasmanian devil himself wouldn’t last in a fist fight with Pacquiao. He’s just too fast. You can’t hurt what you can’t catch.

It will be another great battle for the sport.

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