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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hatton Promises An Explosive Fight Which Won't Go 12

The Hitman’s confidence going into his May 2 tussle with Manny Pacquiao is sky high, and he’s sticking to his trainer’s call that he will finish off the Filipino icon.

On a conference call with Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer, Ricky Hatton said that he is looking forward to showing Pacquiao how much stronger he is than anyone that Pacman has faced to this point. After 12 weeks of camp with Floyd Mayweather, he said, he will be in tip top condition, and will be entering the Las Vegas ring with a solid tactical plan to take down Manny.

The May 2 scrap is certainly juicing the public’s interest, as Schaefer announced that tickets are sold out for the event.

Hatton will engage in one hard sparring session on Wednesday, and will then taper off. “It was the best sparring I’ve had, my partners were able to clone the style of Manny,” he said. “I’m in a perfect place ten days away from the fight.”

The humble hitter, who said he “doesn’t see myself as a star” in this “world of celebrity bollocks” thinks that he is being underestimated coming in to the beef, but he promises to show his real worth against Pacquiao. He says now that he is settled in his personal life, and isn’t boozing and chowing too much in between fights, his true talents will emerge against Pacquiao. With a win, he said, he thinks he should be regarded as the top pound for pounder in the world, since Pacquiao has beaten the man regarded as No. 2 on that list, Juan Manuel Marquez.

Hatton (45-1) said that he sees Manny (48-3-2) as a formulaic fighter, who isn’t as versatile as he. “I don’t think he’s fought anyone as fierce, ferocious as rough, big and strong as me,” Hatton said. “I’m an absolute handful. I’ve never been more sure, more confident.”

TSS thinks the left hands and Manny’s footwork will tip the fight in his favor, but Hatton will not accept the conventional wisdom, some of that emanating from the mouth of Pacman’s promoter, Bob Arum, that he doesn’t do southpaws well.

Schaefer interjected when the Arum stance was brought up, and joked that Arum will change his tune after Hatton wins, and say: “Yesterday I was lying, today I am telling the truth, Ricky is the pound for pound best.” Hatton said outings against Juan Urango and Luis Collazo weren’t overwhelming because he had a virus coming into the Urango scrap and he fought Collazo at 147, not 140. “I think Pacquiao is underestimating me, if that’s their opinion, don’t expect me to show enthusiasm. Brilliant, bring it on. Just because Arum said it, don’t expect me to (crap) myself.”

“I think Arum is clutching at straws, he’s probably hoping I struggle with southpaws.”

Both camps have predicted a stoppage win. Hatton is also of that mind. “I don’t see it being a distance fight,” he said. “He goes for the KO, I go for the KO. He’s not the most elusive, he’s very square, in the pocket. It will be a very explosive, rather than a long drawn out fight.”

One element that maybe hasn’t been factored in as much as it should by the pundit class—Hatton is enjoying camp more than he has in some time. He was so worried that his ex trainer, Billy Graham, wouldn’t make it through camp, because of his ill health and injuries, that he spent excess time worrying about that. Working with Mayweather Sr, he said, makes the time pass. In camp, one can “listen to Floyd for two hours and lose two pounds laughing.”

Hatton doesn’t pay much mind to the trainer trash talk. He knows it’s being done for hype purposes, but noted that Mayweather has taken him aside, and told him he wouldn’t be talking so boldly if he didn’t believe it. Hatton and Senior have meshed nicely, the fighter said, and the seven weeks they spent together have been marked by much fun, frolic, learning and no miscommunication. “For the first two weeks when he trained me for Malignaggi, I didn’t understand a word he was saying!”


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