We’re little more than a week out from the Pacquiao/Hatton fight and already I’m thinking about Pacquiao/Mayweather because this fight is going to be about as interesting as the boring HBO 24/7 episodes that have preceded it.
How HBO has managed to take what was once a fun series that showed fighters and their entourages in a new way and turned it into one more overdramatic sports show I’ll never know. Who's directing these episodes, Alan Ball?
Even Floyd Sr. seems to be serious this time around. Dude, you’re a clown who happens to be able to train fighters. That’s your persona. Stick with it.
Freddie Roach is one of the best trainers in the history, but it’s Pacquiao’s willingness to be coachable that sets the Filipino wonder apart from other fighters.
Let’s face it, had James Toney listened to Freddie and kept his weight at 217 back in 2004 he probably would have cleaned up the heavyweight division and given us a few exciting matches during that time.
But James was stubborn and listened to weight trainers instead of his coach and the results were a disaster. Not only for James but for fight fans around the world who have have been stuck with unwatchable heavyweight bouts for years.
Pacquiao on the other hand not only listens to Roach, he follows his game plan to a tee. That’s why he keeps getting better and better.
The turning point for these two was Pacquiao’s first fight against Erik Morales. Manny insisted on having his trainers from the Philippines in the corner that night and as the fight went on they constantly yelled instructions over the top of Roach.
The result was a fight that many claimed was close, but really wasn’t. The Pac-man was soundly beaten in the first Morales fight.
BUT there was silver lining. Since that fight, Manny has given Roach full control and the results have been spectacular.
Ricky only knows one way to fight. He comes right at his opponents and tries to overwhelm them. That worked fine against most of the stiffs he’s faced over the years, but it didn’t work at all against Mayweather, Jr. and it won’t work against the Pac-Man.
He’s got Floyd, Sr. in his corner this time. But that isn’t going to mean much. I don’t think Hatton can change his fighting style at this late date. And he certainly can’t get faster.
If anything he'll be a little slower after his last fights where he used his face to block punches instead of his gloves.
Manny will come inside, throw quick combinations and then get out. It will be just a matter of time before he chops down Hatton who will not be able to keep up with the Pac-man's speed.
I’d like to tell you Hatton has a chance in this fight, but the truth is he has no chance at all. He just doesn’t.
Personally, I think Hatton is one of the most overrated fighters ever. For the most part he's only fought stiffs on his home turf and many of them have been able to pound him almost as much as he has pounded them.
There are, of course, two key exceptions to that pattern.
One exception was the Mayweather fight when Floyd easily beat him. The fight was never really close.
The other fight was against Kostya Tszyu, and I personally have a lot of questions about that fight.
I recently watched the Hatton/Tszyu fight on ESPN Classic and I have to say there was something a little off about that fight.
I mean, Tszyu was a great champion. And everyone knew he took the fight in England because he had money problems. Those problems disappeared after the fight and Tszyu never fought again.
Now I don’t want to cast aspersions, but when a great champ like Kostya Tszyu quits on his stool. Quits in a fight when he still had a chance. Quits in a fight when he was largely unmarked, well…
Let’s just say Hatton’s next fight isn’t in England and there isn’t any quit in Manny Pacquiao. This one won’t go past the eighth.
Then we can get ready for the fight we really want to see. The showdown between Manny and Floyd.