Anticipation was electric at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas tonight, after the completion of the four undercard fights. Fans of the 'Hitman' Hatton filled the air with drumbeats, confident about sending their brave warrior out to battle.
Manny 'Pacman' Pacquaio's entourage lingered almost embarrassingly in his corner before he moved to the center of the ring to touch gloves with his opponent. And then, within the space of two rounds, Pacquaio used superior boxing skills to completely dismantle the English hero.
From the first moments of the round, Pacquaio owned the ring, displaying beautiful footwork and timing as he hit Hatton with combinations, including a short right hook he perfected in his training camp. Hatton made the mistake of coming straight forward with his hands down, succumbing to the excitement of the moment.
Within two minutes, Hatton made his first trip to the canvas from a fierce right hand at close range. Hatton tried to hold on for the next minute until he was floored again just before the closing bell. Hatton looked like a man lost in deep water in his corner between rounds, as Floyd Mayweather Sr. pointed out that he had not stuck to their defensive plan to move his head and use some boxing skills.
In the second round, Pacquaio continued to tag Hatton with combinations, placing punches from a variety of angles and timing Hatton perfectly. Hatton looked like an awkward pub fighter, chasing Pacquaio unsuccessfully while Pacquaio continued to land devastating punches from a variety of angles.
After slipping a few of Hatton's wild shots, Pacquaio closed the deal with a short left hook exactly on Hatton's chin, forcing him to fall straight onto his side like a dead man with only a second left in the fight. Hatton was lucky to get up off of the canvas a few minutes after the referee waved up the fight.
Most expected this fight to last more than three rounds. Freddie Roach, holding the knowledge of the addition of the right hook into Pacquaio's arsenal, knew the fight would be over before then.
This fight was a beautiful reminder that boxing skills, hand speed, and the ability to think in the ring will beat brute force and wild aggression any day. Sorry, Ricky, that's what it means to go up against the pound-for-pound champ.