Manny Pacquiao: Boxing's All-Time Greatest?

Mio de la CruzContributor IMay 3, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MAY 02:  (R-L) Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines stands over Ricky Hatton of England after Pacquiao knocked him out in the second round during their junior welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 2, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The "Best of the West" was not good enough for the "Beast from the East," as Manny Pacquiao ended Ricky Hatton’s quest for a pound-for-pound boxing crown with a devastating second-round TKO victory at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas, NV last night.

The proud British champion roared to an explosive start in the opening bell of the 12-round encounter dubbed as “East vs. West,” but the acknowledged pound-for-pound king gave him savage combinations to the head and body that quickly slowed down the warrior from Manchester, England.

Hatton struggled to stay in the thick of the battle before thousands of English supporters who defied global recession to fly to Las Vegas to watch their idol defend his International Boxing Organization (IBO) Jr. Welterweight crown against the Filipino terror.

Unable to parry Pacquiao’s piston-like blows, Hatton simply wilted under pressure as "Pac-Man" scored with a right cut that sent the Briton down for a mandatory eight counts in Round One.

Then, as Hatton wobbled back into the contest, Pacquiao sent him back to the floor. With only a few seconds remaining, Hatton barely stood up and walked to his corner to finish the round.

In Round Two, Pacquiao threw more combinations as Hatton clung to his opponent to keep his balance. Hatton scored a few punches of his own but lowered his defense in the last 10 seconds of the fight and allowed Pacquiao to sneak in a left cross that sent him sprawling on the canvas face-up.

Referee Kenny Bayless immediately motioned Pacquiao to stay in the neutral corner as he watched Hatton flat on the floor, his eyes closed. Bayless took another look at Hatton, then declared Pacquiao winner by TKO with only a second left in the second round.

In all five minutes and 59 seconds of the contest, Hatton had looked like the overrated club fighter many of his detractors thought he was.

Hatton was hardly even a shell of the go-go fighter that he was with 45 wins against only one loss. He didn’t appear the “stronger, faster, and more focused” fighter that his trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. described him to be on the eve of the celebrated contest. 

Or I guess it could also be that against Pacquiao (48 wins, three losses, now the undisputed pound-for-pound king of the world), Hatton’s reputation meant nothing.

Known to his countrymen as the “People’s Champ” and Pambansang Kamao (“National Fist”), the jubilant Filipino fighter thus scaled another height in an already illustrious boxing career that had won him five titles in as many weight divisions. He stands to take home a minimum $12 million for the fight, while Hatton gets his share of $8 million.

The victory validates his stature and puts Pacquiao side-by-side with boxing greats Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, and Oscar de la Hoya.

“He is today’s face of boxing,” noted Bob Arum, the world-renowned boxing promoter who likewise managed Ali’s fights. The genteel boxing promoter describes Manny Pacquiao not as the "beast" from the East, but rather the "best and greatest boxer of all time.”