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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m bigger and stronger than Pacquiao, claims boxer Hatton

LONDON (AFP) — England's world light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton believes he will emerge victorious over Filipino pugilist Manny Pacquiao in their world title bout in Las Vegas on May 2.

The 30-year-old Englishman met up with Pacquiao, who confirmed his status as the world's leading fighter with victories over Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz and Oscar De La Hoya in 2008, in London on Monday for a friendlier meeting than can be expected of the fireworks when they face each other in May.

"My size and strength will be a key factor," Hatton told BBC Sport.

"Light-welterweight is my weight division. I've never lost at 10st and I'm brimming with confidence."

While Hatton admires his opponent, a four-weight world champion, he believes that the Filipino beat a de la Hoya, who was on the decline.

"I know he beat Oscar de la Hoya, but Oscar wasn't that difficult to beat and outbox that night, I think I could have done an equally as good job, if not better," said Hatton, who has a record of 45 wins from 46 fights.

"Oscar got in the ring at 10st 7lb, I'll get in the ring at 11st. Manny will have a lot of punishment to absorb.

"I've seen Manny dropped with body shots a few times by smaller men and seen him shook up with head punches."

However, Hatton did concede that it would not be an easy bout depsite the difference in size between the two fighters.

"I'll have a lot of difficulty with him," said Hatton, who hopes that victory over Pacquiao will pave the way for a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, the only man ever to beat him.

"He's got very good punching power and very fast hands from a southpaw style. He also brings fighters on to the punch and has good footwork.

"It's the two most popular fighters in the world and the two most exciting fighters in the world fighting for the biggest prize in boxing, Manny's pound-for-pound title. It will be the fight of the year."

Pacquiao, also 30 and who owns a record of 48 wins and three losses from 53 fights, said he felt the same thrill aobut this fight than he had for when he fought de la Hoya.

"The intensity for this fight is the same as for the Oscar de la Hoya fight (which was last December)," he said.

"But I think there will be more action in the ring against Ricky, the intensity will be double it was in the last fight."

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach, who also trains British lightweight star Amir Khan, said Hatton was the ideal opponent for his boxer.

"Ricky will make us look great," said Roach, who has also worked with Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins, De la Hoya, among others.

"He'll run into too many problems and we'll dominate. We're just too quick and I have the game-plan mapped out already. He'll make it difficult for us for a little while, but we will get to him."


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