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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why Hatton Will Win

This is part 2 of our 2-part series. You can also read "Why Pacquiao Will Win" which is in our columns section.

So the time is almost upon us. This Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao takes on Ricky Hatton for The Ring light-welterweight championship and the inconsequential IBO title. According to some experts this fight is nothing more than a showcase for the Filipino fighting machine. Another notch on the resume for the consensus pound-for-pound king. I must admit, I find this staggering.

Style wise I think this fight is a potential nightmare for the Pac-Man. Pacquiao likes space and distance to set up his shots and this is one luxury he won't be afforded against Ricky who will be all over him like a rash. I'm not sure how effective Manny will be on the inside, especially against a fighter as strong and relentless as Ricky. We all know how Hatton loves to maul and wrestle up close. If Manny can't counteract this, or if the referee isn't on Hatton's case like Cortez was, the Pac-Man could be in deep trouble.

The weight is another factor. I don't think you can read too much into Pacquiao's fight with De La Hoya, as the man formerly known as the Golden Boy was nothing more than a punching bag that night and never put the Filipino under any sustained pressure. Against Hatton, Manny will know he's in the ring with a fighter much bigger and stronger than he is, especially in the later rounds where I expect the Pac-Man will be worn out from the sheer physical strength of the naturally bigger man.

Now don't think i'm selling Pacquiao short. His hand speed, footwork and precision punching will cause Hatton no end of problems. After all, he's not the P4P number one for nothing. But i'm just not convinced that Manny is a strong light-welter. Heck, he hasn't even proven he's a strong lightweight yet because, let's face it, David Diaz was one of the most limited champions in recent years. And despite the fact that Pacquiao battered Diaz from pillar to post, the Mexican-American still managed to hang in there until the ninth round, which makes Roach's prediction of a third-round knockout in favour of the Pac-Man sound ludicrous.

Despite his stoppage defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather (up at welterweight), Hatton's chin has proven to be pretty solid. And don't expect the Manchester hero to be a sitting duck for Manny's bombs like Diaz was. He's going to be shifting from side to side, throwing punches from different angles and smothering the Filipino's work up close. A different kettle of fish to what Diaz and Oscar could offer, both of whom moved about as quickly as the zombies from Night of The Living Dead.

Bottom line, I suspect this fight will be decided on the inside and against a beast of a fighter like Hatton that is a battle where Pacquaio will come up short. I think Hatton, after overcoming a few shaky moments, will eventually break Manny's heart and quench his fire. A late stoppage is possible, but Pacquiao's quality and ring savvy should see him through the twelve rounds. Hatton wins by unanimous decision. Take it to the bank.


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