Manny Pacquiao vs. Rick Hatton: Brick and Stone

Daniel MarksContributor IDecember 23, 2008

A boxer’s smorgasbord sprinkled with reminisce of Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Jake Lamotta, smothered in a course of classic boxer/brawler meets puncher/brawler, with the main course here being plenty of leather swapping/blood and vaseline...popcorn, anyone?!?

In Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao we have a relentless boxer/brawler with a darting style, in which condition is further enhanced by blinding speed, and strength, in both hands. It is this approach to boxing that makes Pacquiao’s skills likened to that of a Pitt bull attack. The feverish tenacity that he brings to the ring via his vicious, awesome, and oftentimes crippling combination, brings round after round of suspense in his shredding of opponents by attrition. 

Pacquiao, like the late great Ray Robinson, demonstrates effectively what it means to box and maintain an active fighting range in that he keeps fighters guessing and is able to explode and counter, oftentimes leading with a straight left hand, the likes of which many of orthodox fighters, are not used to seeing.

More and more, however, it should be noted that Pacquiao’s tendency to drop his hands before a steaming set of combinations leaves a lot to be desired. This writer finds that, in the loading of Pacquiao’s punches, he leaves himself quite vulnerable to an opponent's left jab and counter right hand. One needs not go far in the support of this theory as it can be seen in the Marquez fight.

It must be known here that Pacquiao’s discipline and hard effectiveness is in a fighter’s hard-pressed ability to pin him to the ropes or trap him in a corner. These are the two most important things that Ricky "the Hitman" Hatton will have to do if he hopes to win.

No one can dispute that Hatton is a straight-up, head-to-head, no-nonsense fighter. He takes awhile to grow on you, but once you’re a fan you will be wowed by his skill in the ring. His speed and manic pressing style are the trademarks of the brutal assault that have left many a man sitting in their corners, unable to answer the bell to the following round.

He made this very clear in the Kosta Tszyu fight. But if he intends to beat the Pacman, he must couple what has been mentioned above with savvy head movements, extra use of the jab, and an array of ranges and motions for counter attacks.

In this epic battle, the Hitman will most definitely have to curb his tendencies of lunging in and firing wide, looping body shots and consistently repeating the same series of combinations. All in all, he must use his leverage and his savvy to cut the ring from Pacquiao, leading him to the ropes where he, the Hitman, will be most effective. 

While it's obvious to see that both fighters will brawl if pressed, neither Pacquiao nor Hatton likes to be outgunned. This makes for a knockdown, drag-out, no-holds-barred pressure cooker of a fight—a real flamer.

This writer’s money is on Pacquiao and him matadoring his way to an early knockout. For Hatton hasn’t had enough time with his new trainer, Floyd Meriweather Sr., to undo his lunging and pressing style.

So it must be added here that with all things being equal, Pacquiao can and will box. This is something that Hatton, in all of his glory, still seems very reluctant to do.

Fans, at the end of the day, boxing is just what it is, "The Sweet Science." Those who are unwilling to equip themselves in the need of a better plan will be planning to take the best shots of the better planner and boxer.