Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Ricky Hatton proved in a phone conference earlier this week that his mind is now set: inexorably on a victory in Las Vegas over Manny Pacquiao on May 2.
I asked him, within his mindset, whether the tools he possesses weigh more in his favour against Pacquiao than before he fought Kostya Tzsyu, in Manchester, back in 2005.
"I have a marauding style, full of aggression. Manny is not as big as Kostya, but they are both a difficult proposition for different reasons. Manny will have a speed advantage, but I was told before I met Paulie Malignaggi that he would have a speed advantage, but that flattered him."
"But it is not just size and power that Manny and Freddie should be worried about. Manny is in and out, he pulls out of range, quick on his feet, likes to shift in and out, but when he lets his hands go and is right in the firing line and misses, he leaves himself wide open. There are dangers [for me] just like there were with Kostya Tzsyu, but there is no doubt in my mind about victory."
Hatton added: "I'll be coming in at 100 miles an hour. Big, fast, powerful punches, a fierce strength. It will be a wonderful fight. I think the fans are in for an absolute treat for this fight... no doubt in my mind. 10st is my division."
Will speed be the greatest factor, though ? "My speed is underestimated," says Hatton. "You can have the fastest hands in the world; it is all about timing, making your opponent miss. I've always been fast and explosive. KT could not hold me back, there's just no reason why I should lose this fight, but if Ricky Hatton loses this fight, I will be the first to walk over there and shake Manny's hand. The best man will win, and I think it will be me.
Hatton has lofty ambitions. "As long as I'm remembered as one of the best [British fightersin history ] I'll be quite content."
The rumour mill also has Hatton happy. "I've been hearing that their sparring partners are not like me and are on the slow side. I believe they are pushing for a certain referee. Those signals sound good to me."
Hatton also says it is a myth that he has issues with south paw style fighters. "I don't struggle with southpaws. I struggled with Luis Collazo, who was a south paw and 147lb fighter....This will be no tickling contest. I see it as an absolute war."
Hatton also insists his greatest critics are a major motivational force for him.
"I've come through my critics. They said I was just a brawler, I put on too much weight, that Kostya Tszyu would flatten me. It's those knockers I'm going to knock on their a**, on May 2. They said I'm over-hyped, that I was over-protected. I wanted to prove to my critics that I could do it in America. I believe I have. All I do is use the criticism as inspiration. I think people who don't really know me, see me as a little fat brawler. Well you'll see. [on May 2]."
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