Manny Pacquiao Vs. Ricky Hatton: In-Depth Preview

Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao

Born: Bukidnon, Philippines
Resides: General Santos City, Philippines
Height: 5' 6 1/2"
Reach: 67"
Current Titles Held: None
Former Titles Held: WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), Ring Magazine, WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), Ring Magazine Featherweight (126 lbs.), IBF Super Bantamweight (122 lbs.), WBC Flyweight (112 lbs.)
Professional Record: 48-3-2, 36 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 8-1-2, 7 KOs
Record at 140 lbs.: First fight at this weight
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 3-1-1

Notable Wins: TKO8 Oscar De La Hoya, TKO11 Marco Antonio Barrera I, SD12 Juan Manuel Marquez II
Notable Losses: UD12 Erik Morales I, KO3 Medgoen Singsurat

Ricky "Hitman" Hatton

Born: Stockport, England
Resides: Manchester, England
Height: 5' 7 1/2"
Reach: 65"
Current Titles Held: Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight (140 lbs.)
Former Titles Held: WBA Welterweight (147 lbs.), WBA, IBF Light Welterweight (140 lbs.)
Professional Record: 45-1, 32 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 7-1, 4 KOs
Record at 140 lbs.: 40-0
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 8-0

Notable Wins: TKO11 Paul Malignaggi, KO4 Jose Luis Castillo, TKO11 Kostya Tszyu
Notable Losses: TKO10 Floyd Mayweather Jr.


For the second consecutive year, Pacquiao finds himself in the biggest fight on the calendar. Last time out, the pride of the Philippines blitzed Oscar De La Hoya into retirement and became the most likely candidate to take over for the Golden Boy as the top draw in boxing.

In Hatton, Pacquiao will battle not a fading superstar but a world champion who should also be in his prime. Though he crashed and burned the last time he fought a pound-for-pound king - losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007 - the brawler from Manchester has reinvented himself as more of a technician under the guidance of Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr.

Mayweather has been insistent throughout his war of words with opposite number Freddie Roach that Hatton will be both too skilled and too big for Pacquiao to handle. The former point is debatable, but the latter point could have some merit considering the Hitman has spent nearly his entire career at 140 pounds.

Still, Pacquiao carried even more weight into the ring against De La Hoya without sacrificing his signature blend of speed and power. It's not out of the question that after hopping from super featherweight to lightweight to welterweight in his last three fights that he'll settle in nicely at junior welterweight.

While both men will be eager to show how much they've improved as boxers over the last few years, each has hinted that he wouldn't be surprised if the fight ends with someone looking at the lights. Most of Pacquiao and Hatton's career knockouts have come from cumulative damage, so the large audience expected to tune in on pay-per-view should get its money's worth.

And since the old instincts that say stand and trade never completely go away, there may well be more two-way fireworks before the end comes than either trainer is planning.

Pacquiao's Winning Strategy: Keep It Moving

Blessed with exceptionally fast hands, it's hard to imagine Pacquiao will have any more trouble beating Hatton to the punch than he's had in any of his other big fights. He's also come a long way from simply jabbing to set up his powerful left hand, so his offense now comes in a variety of forms.

But Manny can be hit when he stands in front of an opponent for too long, and while Hatton isn't a noted counterpuncher like Pac Man nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, he is much more effective against a stationary target.

To combat that, Pacquiao would be well served to utilize the excellent lateral movement he displayed against De La Hoya. He'll look to avoid having the ring cut off, keeping the action in the center where his advantage in hand speed will be most apparent.

Pacquiao can also use his legs to control the distance of the fight, as Hatton feels most at home at very close range. Moving in and out will give Manny access to his whole arsenal, allowing him to start combinations with jabs, hooks or lead lefts.

Hatton's Winning Strategy: Combine the Old With the New

The bull in a china shop act that allowed Hatton to rack up 43 straight wins to start his career and bludgeon Kostya Tszyu into submission finally ran out of steam against Mayweather Jr. To his credit, he knew he needed to retool and showed quite a few new wrinkles against Paulie Malignaggi last November.

Even with more offensive diversity and defensive awareness, though, it's hard to see Hatton prevailing in a straight-up contest of boxing skills. Pacquiao has advantages in hand and foot speed that are just too obvious for even the "new" Hitman to overcome, and the risk of giving the fight away on the scorecards would be high.

What Hatton needs is a hybrid approach: using an improved jab and head movement to avoid trouble on the outside and exhibiting his previous rough and tumble approach to punish Pacquiao once he gets in close. He also needs to cut off the ring to give Manny less room to roam and allow his likely edge in strength to work in his favor.

If Hatton can make peace between his inner brawler and his newfound boxer, he'll have more than a puncher's chance to have his hand raised in victory at the end of the night.

Posted by The Franchise

1 comment:

uatu said...

Despite what Roger Mayweather said on 24/7, I don't think Manny will be at any size disadvantage at all. There's a chance he will be bigger and stronger than Hatton. If that's the case, then Hatton may be in some trouble.