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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pacquiao: Hatton fight harder than Oscar bout

MANILA, Philippines – Oscar "The Golden Boy" De La Hoya was a great opponent, but for Manny Pacquiao, facing Ricky Hatton may be even tougher.

Pacquiao was man enough to admit it before some 6,000 cheering fans at the Trafford Center in Manchester about how he expects Hatton to give him a lot of problems in their May 2 light-welterweight showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I’ve been in a lot of big, big fights and beaten a lot of great fighters. My last fight against De La Hoya was important, but Ricky Hatton will be much harder," he said.

Though not as decorated and celebrated as De La Hoya, Hatton is at the peak of a career that has seen him win titles in the light-welterweight and welterweight classes.

He also lost just once in 46 fights – to retired unbeaten champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. – 32 of which "The Hitman" won by way of knockout.

De La Hoya lost a one-sided eight round technical knockout to Pacquiao at welterweight in their 2008 December showdown in Las Vegas.

“This fight will be a great challenge because Ricky is a great fighter. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime fight," said the 30-year-old world’s top pound-for-pound fighter.

To the wild cheers of his fight fans, Hatton said Pacquiao doesn’t scare him despite being the great champion that he is.

“This is a fight between two nice men, but there is nothing nice about either me or Manny when we get inside the ring. We’re both aggressive, but where some other fighters have been worried about him, he certainly won’t worry me," said the Manchester native.

The two noted punchers are making a tour of Manchester to promote their 12-round fight many expected to be one of the biggest for the year 2009.

A formal press conference would be held on at the Imperial War Museum in Southwark London before Team Pacquiao leaves for Los Angeles.

A similar promotional tour is expected to hit the cities of New York, Las Vegas and San Francisco before Pacquiao kicks off a rigorous two-month training at Freddie Roach’s famed Wild Card gym.

Visiting London for the first time, Pacquiao toured the city Sunday during his rest day.

He went on a sightseeing tour of Big Ben, Westminter and the House of Commons, the Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and other well-known tourist spots.

Hatton is expected to remain in Manchester for another four weeks, and then flies to Las Vegas to hook up with trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. –GMANews.TV


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