Hatton-Pacquiao Special or Spectacular

Diamond BoxingContributor IMarch 15, 2009

BY : Rota Em

The fight between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao will be nothing short of spectacular. Both fighters have been radiating confidence throughout their much anticipated press tour across Hatton’s home turf. Although the Hitman has been known to run on empty in the late stages of some recent bouts, much of that conditioning problem has to do with him ballooning some 35, 40 pounds in between fights.

After wrapping up the promotional tour with Pacquiao, who is on his first ever trip to the UK, Ricky reiterated how much he wants the mythical pound-for-pound title and asserts that he is already in top physically track. “I’m in fantastic condition already that just shows how much I’m up for this fight… Manny leaves himself open, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be confident,” says Hatton.

For Manny, his first trip to England was as pleasant as can be. Overwhelmed by thousands of Filipino supporters Manny, AKA Mr. Nice Guy considering all the charity he’s dipped his hands into lately, sticks to the more personal side of the verbal exchange. “Freddie Roach is my best friend,” stated Pacquiao. And in addressing how he plans to handle Ricky’s power, Manny says, “Hatton hits very hard… He is bigger than I am but this is not about big. It’s about punching hard and being effective.” And he cannot be more on the money.

In going over the press tour statements and after seeing these two stand toe-to-toe, a couple things came to mind.

First, I couldn’t help but notice how explicit Ricky Hatton was on his game plan and intentions for Pacquiao’s aggressive style. All the while Manny makes a joke regarding the phenomenal turnout from his countrymen saying, “Although it’s Hatton’s place, I think Manchester is now ‘Mannychester’!” Pacquiao has always had a calm demeanor but at times it is hard to decipher underestimation from confidence.

”I know Ricky Hatton’s weakness but I do not want to discuss that,” Pacman declares to a video reporter after his press conference at the Trafford Center.
Secondly, the Hitman’s size isn’t as overwhelming as I initially thought. On paper they are the same size but it means so much more to see it in person. This is not good for England’s proud son.

The last couple years have been generous to Manny Pacquiao. After campaigning at such a low weight class in his teens, it’s truly unbelievable to see the once dirt poor Filipino grow into his own light and size. Now he’s challenging a man who has never been beaten at 10 stone (140 lbs). The outcome, however, may very well be easier to speculate when you factor in a couple noteworthy details but like everything else, will only be 20/20 in hindsight.

To date, Manny Pacquiao has dropped, stopped, and retired (on the stool) Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Oscar de la Hoya. Looking back ten years, you cannot deny the fact that the figures lining Pacman’s resume are upper echelon prizefighters.

When Pacquiao fought David Diaz, speed favored him immediately. And halfway through the fourth round a significant punch landed flush, the Manila Ice as we’ll call it for now, and it staggered Diaz. Now David was losing every round to this point and he lost every round afterwards too but this punch alone proved to be the most effective addition to the Filipino’s arsenal. And for a southpaw, a good right hook is the finest instrument to own.

Flashback to his second fight with Morales, before Erik was dropped he was hurt by a whooping right hook. Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself HERE. The more time Morales spent in the ring with Pacquiao, the more effective his right hand became. In the third and final meeting between them, Manny’s newfound love crept back in the game even earlier. Before being canvassed and forced to quit, he was rocked badly by, you guessed it, a right hook.

So what does this have to do with Ricky Hatton?
Well, for one I don’t consider the Hitman to be as technically sound as Marquez is, nor is he as smooth as Morales was, and he sure didn’t last the whole dance with Mayweather like Oscar did.

I’m a firm believer of the idea that Manny’s choice to pursue a fight with Ricky is safer than a third meeting with Marquez.

When you factor in the reach advantage on top of speed, it’ll be a very troublesome night for our beloved Hitman. He might just get a taste of the revamped ‘Manila Ice’ first hand. Don’t worry; the gimmicky symbol will catch back on in no time. I’m surprised this hasn’t turned up in more boxing venues of discussion. Just watch his recent fights, the right hook is as prominent as the Cotto is in MSG.

Before you scour the internet for facts to contest my reasoning, take this into consideration.
In Hatton’s win over Malignaggi, he threw exactly 516 punches and landed 124 (24%). Paulie landed 27%.
Malignaggi is a slick, speed boxer but he’s not Pacman fast. And he’s not Mayweather slick. Besides, the ‘5-KO-in-27-fights’ Magic Man had a difficult time getting past 10-loss veteran Lovemore N’dou prior to his shot at Hatton.

The 2007 meeting between the more skilled PBF and Hitman saw the punch stats heavily favoring Mayweather at 129 landed (39%) to 63 (17%) for Ricky. Enough said. Despite the horrible reffing, Hatton just wasn’t effective.

After getting tattooed to the body in a fight with Juan Urango, Hatton averaged 20 fewer punches per round over the course of the last half of the fight, which computes to half the output from the first half. The first couple rounds were easy nods in favor of Hatton but midway through the fight Urango, a natural righty fighting southpaw, began to land to Hatton’s body. He had Ricky on the retreat but did not follow up with ANYTHING from that point on. You can bet this is not what Manny, who normally throws more than his opponents, will be doing. But the damage was done and despite the large points victory, Hatton showed how a right hand can change things fast. Just like his fight with Juan Lazcano, Hatton was criticized greatly for his performance rating.

When Pacquiao fought De la Hoya, the audacious southie landed 224 out of 585 (38%) punches thrown. Oscar came out at 21%.

The toughest fights of his life were against Marquez though. When they fought to a draw, he was robbed of a win due to an incorrect points tally. And in the second match, per HBO stats, if the scorecards were based on who connects more on a round-by-round basis, Pacquiao would still get the 6-5-1- nod (115-114). And that’s not including the 3rd round knockdown, which would make it 115-113. A third fight has the potential to overshadow the original Thrilla in Manila because I think another go at it will decide a victor in convincing fashion. And why not in the Philippines? I’m sure his fanbase would appreciate the ‘walk’ to the fight as opposed to a two thousand dollar airfare expense.

With all that said, styles make fights but Hatton only has one to offer really. And I highly doubt he’ll turn to counter punching after being beat to the trigger. I’ve gone over some surface keys for Hatton in a previous article but they are all dependent on whether he can reach, control, and keep up with the quicker, more aggressive Filipino. After all, the Pacman has his own set of keys and strategies to victory too. But it looks like we’ll have to wait until the fight is closer before Roach and company start to divulge their game plan I guess. This is just a sad, sad reminder that the super showdown is still two months away. I’m sure Money May and Sugar Shane are watching, anticipating, and probably will be in attendance come May 2nd.




Hatton Strategy: http://www.diamondboxing.com/newsstory.php?list=6401
Pacquiao-Morales 2: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/erik-morales-vs-manny-pacquiao-ii/1199378940