Pacquiao-Hatton: A Pre-Fight Analysis

Bill BarnerCorrespondent IMay 2, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MAY 01:  (L-R) Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Ricky Hatton of England pose after both fighters stepped on the scale during the weigh-in for their junior welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 1, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Rarely does a fight analysis necessitate as many variables as Pacquiao v. Hatton.  From the fighters’ speed and power to the referee to the fans, this fight has all the ingredients of a great competition.  Lets take a look.

The Trainers

Trainer Freddie Roach and fighter Manny Pacquiao have an extensive history together and have tremendous chemistry.  Conversely, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Ricky Hatton have had only one fight togetherHatton v. Malignaggi, a TKO win for Hatton.  However, this does not necessarily create an advantage for Pacquiao. 

With Mayweather Sr., Hatton is evolving dramatically as a boxer.  Like Arturo Gatti before him, Hatton is learning to supplement his strength and grit as a brawler with the sweetly scientific skills of a boxer.  Watch for Hatton to demonstrate improved combination punching and hand speed.  Most importantly, watch for a striking improvement in Hatton’s defense (i.e. not leading with his face).   

Advantage: Hatton

The Fans

While both fighters will have a great deal of fans in attendance, Hatton’s British fans have so much experience being loud and rowdy that they will drown out Pacman supporters.  Without a doubt, anybody who watches this fight on Saturday night will be humming the “Winter Wonderland” melody all week.  There’s only one Ricky Hatton…

Advantage: Hatton

The Ref

If referee Kenny Bayless separates the fighters to the extent that Joe Cortez did during Hatton’s loss to Mayweather, it will work to Pacquiao’s advantage.  Hatton will succeed if he can eliminate space between him and Pacquiao and he can only do this if Bayless takes a hands-off approach and encourages the fighters to punch out of every clutch. 

Advantage: To be determined. 

What Does Hatton Need to do to Beat Pacquiao?

Control.  Hatton must control the fight and destroy Pacquiao’s body.  Hatton must control both the fight, and himself.  In order to win Saturday night, Hatton has to stay inside and work Pacquiao’s body for the first several rounds.  Additionally, Hatton must compliment his brutal aggression with control, or Pacquiao will use his quickness to pick him apart. 

Hatton’s biggest disadvantage against Pacquiao is hand speed and general quickness.  Solid body work will slow Pacquiao in the later rounds.  Additionally, two out of Pacquiao’s three career losses were the result of body punches.  Pacquiao has shown a strong chin throughout his career, but the body punch might be his Achille’s heel. 

What Does Pacquiao Need to do to Beat Hatton?

Movement.  If Pacquiao moves his feet, then Hatton must follow him in order to stay aggressive.  If Hatton is following Pacquiao, then he [Hatton] is not controlling the fight.  Moreover, good footwork will allow Pacquiao to attack at angles. 

Further, Pacquiao must move his head, keeping in mind the old boxing adage “you can’t punch what you can’t see.”  Ricky Hatton is a dangerous puncher, and good head and foot movement will allow Pacquiao to use his amazing hand speed to dismantle Hatton. 


A great fight.  Look for both fighters to come out aggressively, and to continue that pace for the entire fight.  Ricky Hatton will give everything he has, but expect Pacquiao’s speed, which Hatton simply cannot match, to win this match.  If Pacquiao uses his footwork to prevent a brawl, then Hatton will be overwhelmed by Pacquiao’s speed.  Expect Kenny Bayless to stop the fight in the late rounds, giving Pacquiao a win by TKO—if Pacman’s body holds up that long.  



Bill Barner is a certified official with USA Boxing. a partner in the Law Firm of BarnerRossen P.A.specializing in Criminal and Immigration Law, and a former sparring partner for several amateur and professional boxers and MMA fighters.