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Monday, April 27, 2009

Hatton at his best may beat Pacquiao

Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton needs to fight his best ever to beat Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila), according to former undisputed cruiserweight

champion and heavyweight title challenger David Haye. “A lot of people think Pacquiao is small, but this guy is the real deal,” Haye told British writer, Tom Hopkinson of The People, a London-based newspaper.

The defining victory of Hatton’s 12-year professional boxing career came on June 5, 2005 when, fighting as a heavy underdog, he stopped Kostya Tszyu after 11 rounds of action.

But Haye said the Tszyu performance is not good enough to defeat Pacquiao, the consensus best boxer in the world pound-for-pound.

“Hatton needs to fight better than he did against Tszyu to get the win,” said Haye (22-1, with 21 knockouts), who is scheduled to challenge heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko on June 20.

“I’m told Ricky was in fantastic shape when he got to training camp and I don’t think he’s peaked too early. If Hatton is ever going to beat Pacquiao, it is now,” Haye said.

Haye said it would be a “mammoth achievement” if Hatton can beat the P4P king of the world.

Hatton, who trained 10 weeks for the fight dubbed as “The Battle of East and West” said from Las Vegas that he is in the best shape of his life—better than when he beat the legendary Tszyu four years ago.

Exuding supreme confidence, Hatton is even encouraging anyone interested in making a killing to “empty the bank” and put it on him beating PacMan this weekend when they fight for his IBO light-welterweight title in Las Vegas.

The Manchester, England fighter told Jamie Jackson of The Guardian that Pacquiao would be facing his biggest opponent ever when they square off in the ring Saturday night at the MGM Grand Arena.

“Pacquiao has been stopped a couple of times by body shots and has been knocked out and I don’t think there’s anything you can do to improve your ribs or chin,” said Hatton, who is equally unimpressed by the four-weight world champion’s December 6 demolition of Oscar De la Hoya.

“You can’t count the De la Hoya fight; Oscar was weight-drained—he left it all on the scales when he fought Manny,” he argued of Pacquiao’s eight-round massacre of the Golden Boy before Christmas.

“I don’t think he’s fought an idiot like me before who is 100 miles per hour, strong, fast and a real handful. I will be the biggest and strongest guy he has faced and with how I’m boxing more sensibly now I really think it’s going to be enough.”

“Re-mortgage the house and empty the bank and put it all on me. I’m not getting ahead of myself. It’s just the build of my opponent,” he said of Pacquiao, who is an inch shorter than Hatton, “and how I feel. That’s what I’m going on. Every day of the week I can beat this guy.”

Hatton said that if he beats Pacquiao, he wants a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who inflicted Hatton’s only loss, and Mexican lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez.


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