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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hatton says he'll finish off Pacquiao

MANILA, Philippines - Ricky Hatton has vowed to send Manny Pacquiao crashing back to earth after the Filipino champion’s flattering win over Oscar dela Hoya last December.

Hatton said Pacquiao has been to only one good fight over the last couple of years, against Juan Manuel Marquez, and on May 2 he’ll be in for another one.

“Even in the last few years you can argue that Manny fought (Erik) Morales and (Marco Antonio) Barrera past their prime,” Hatton told The Telegraph UK.

“And when he fought a dangerous opponent in Juan Manuel Marquez he pushed him really close,” said Hatton, who sees himself as the toughest opponent ever for Pacquiao.

For one, Hatton said he plans to climb the ring at around 154 lbs after weighing in at 140 lbs, thus, making him the biggest opponent Pacquiao would ever face.

Dela Hoya, a champion in six different weight classes, including the middleweight class, was already dead making weight, and climbed the ring against Pacquiao at 147 lbs.

It was the biggest and heaviest fight ever for Pacquiao, who began his pro career at 106 lbs. But Pacquiao seemed as good at 147 lbs than he was at 126, 130 or 135.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said the reigning pound-for-pound champion is unbeateable even at 140, and has promised a knockout win over Hatton in three rounds.

Hatton thinks otherwise.

“You could see in his (Dela Hoya) legs, eyes and face that he was not the great Oscar we loved and enjoyed watching. I don’t know how he dropped the weight but he looked drained,” Hatton said.

“And consequently the win flattered Pacquiao,” added the reigning IBO junior welterweight champion from Manchester.

Hatton has been undefeated at 140 lbs, while Pacquiao has only fought twice heavier than 130 lbs, the first one against ex-WBC lightweight champion David Diaz (at 135 lbs) last July. The Marquez fight was at 130.

“I never like to be disrespectful in boxing but these two wins (over Diaz and Dela Hoya) made Manny look good and perhaps gave him a false sense of achievement,” said Hatton.

“I am still at my prime at 140 pounds and it will take a very good fighter to beat me in this frame of mind and I don’t think that Manny’s recent performances make me worry to my boots.”


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