In one of four HBO videos chronicling the building stages to the Las Vegas encounter between Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao and British sensation Ricky Hatton, viewers were able to see what exactly polarized each fighter.
Floyd Mayweather Sr., who had been selected as Hatton’s trainer shortly after he was defeated by Floyd Jr. in a WBC welterweight championship bout on Dec. 8, 2007, boasted his pupil as a superior to many other fighters.
Mayweather Sr. seemed so certain his coaching technique had enhanced Hatton’s technical abilities.
“This right here, this is the real, real race horse right here,” Mayweather Sr. said of the Briton in the third episode of 24/7. “Freddie the joke coach Roach got a mule.
“This right here, this (Hatton) is an Italian stallion.”
Freddie Roach, the trainer of Pacquiao, had taken the more modest approach in coaching his student, even at one point opening up his gym, Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, to the general populace and adding that everyman feel to his persona.
Not at one moment did Roach address the camera to send an overt, condescending message to his opposition.
However, upon an early screening of the promotional video, Hatton did discover an aspect of Pacquiao’s regimen that could be exploited as a means for defeat.
“Same move every time. Right hook, roll over. Right hook, roll over. Right hook, spin off. He’s not going to have too much spin off onto,” said Hatton.
Of course, that scene proved to have been deceiving or erroneously observed, as it was Pacquiao’s volatile left-hand jab that flummoxed the Briton in the first round and ultimately sent him crashing to the canvas at 2:59 of the second.
But like any well-promoted fight, each opposing team had its endearing and cocky qualities.
Mayweather Sr., a typically conceited individual, added colour to the documentary and compensated for Hatton’s lack of arrogance, while Roach and Pacquiao simply combined to be a team defying odds.
Pacquiao has materialized into another rags-to-riches story in sports and Roach, who is dealing with the effects of Parkinson’s disease, has been explicitly supportive of Pacquiao.
What was direly needed in boxing, though, was for this fight to live up to its billing. And it did in several different shades.
At a time where boxing desperately required a fight to stimulate the masses in what truly was a worldwide event between fighters from two ends of the globe, Hatton was reduced to novice status, utterly overwhelmed by the blistering speed of Pacquiao.
One flurry followed by another was directed in Hatton’s direction, barely giving him enough time to assess his position in the fight and change tactics accordingly.
Only at one cursory moment did Hatton muster a few shots to the head of Pacquiao, but in the midst of a furious, unabashed display of velocity and accuracy, the Filipino was unfazed and left unperturbed in concentration.
Martin Rogers, exclusive writer at Yahoo! Sports, believes that there isn’t room for another quality fight in Hatton’s career.
“Floyd Mayweather Sr. spelled out with uncharacteristic lucidity the unwanted reality that thousands of British fight fans already felt in the pit of their stomachs,” he wrote.
“Ricky Hatton, said the man (Mayweather) who trained him amid rumours of ructions and personality conflicts, must retire.”
Those differences between Mayweather Sr. and Hatton, however, where not mentioned nor even motioned in any of the promotional videos and were not thoroughly discussed by Team Hatton.
Whether this had any detrimental effect on the outcome of the fight is left undetermined, but Hatton’s future may no longer have a place for Floyd Sr.
“I addressed the situation and the problems I had with him,” Mayweather said to reporters Thursday.
“I addressed things with him. I let him know I don’t play that, don’t do that. He knows now. I won’t disrespect him.
If I don’t want someone else disrespecting me in no kind of a way, I’m not going to disrespect anybody else in no kind of a way. We have a very clear understanding between each other.
"I make sure I have a clear understanding with everybody I train, because nobody is going to be jerking me around, and I take no mess off nobody.”
But as Mayweather ruminated about the prospects of Hatton’s career, there wasn’t a whole lot of confidence in what the Briton can contribute to the sport on a large scale.
“Frankly speaking, I do think it should be the end for Ricky,” Mayweather said to Yahoo! Sports. “He has fought the best twice and lost. “If he was to carry on and lose to a lesser fighter, then it would be sad. He has made a buck and it makes sense to go.”
Pacquiao, meanwhile, did become one of only two fighters to win at six different weight categories; the only other was Oscar De La Hoya.
And considering the Filipino made the journey from 106 to 140 pounds in his 14-year career; that feat has even more superlative acclaim.
What also kept fans eager and energized was the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. to professional boxing after exercising retirement in 2007.
He has been slated to fight against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18 and, if he is the victor in the match, could potentially set up a Mayweather-Pacquiao encounter.
From all that has been conjured in promoting Pacquiao-Hatton this past month, there’s no doubt that another fight of that magnitude could plausibly resuscitate boxing in the mind of the casual fan.
With Mayweather’s personality and Pacquiao’s congeniality, there are enough elements that could generate the fight of the century.