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Monday, May 4, 2009

Gambo: No one can beat Pac Man right now

Like many boxing fans I plucked down the $60 bucks on Saturday night to get the Manny Pacquiao - Ricky Hatton fight. And like many I fully expected a competitive fight between two great fighters. But what transpired was another butt whupping at the hands of Pacquiao.

Now, I know a thing or two about boxing, having managed a couple of world champions. And I can honestly say that Pacquiao is one of the best I have ever seen. Despite his diminutive size he is as complete a fighter as there has been in the sport in decades.

I don't believe I have seen a fighter this good since Julio Cesar Chavez was in his prime. The night that Chavez took out Edwin Rosario was the night I became a big Chavez fan. But it has taken me time to warm up to Pacquiao. I have picked against him several times always siding with the bigger fighter. Even after he demolished Oscar De la Hoya I still doubted that he would be able to overwhelm a tough power puncher in Hatton. But the fight was no contest. It was over before it started.

Did I get my money's worth -- absolutely. I watched two rounds, three knockdowns and a clinic put on by the Filipino.

As I watched the fight over and over (tivo) I tried to comprehend what makes Pacquiao so special. There is not one answer.

He is short and his punches are compact not looping, giving him the power. He has power in both hands -- which is extremely rare for a fighter. His defense is outstanding as he uses his short stature to his advantage by ducking under jabs and straight right hands. His timing is impeccable as he counters as good as anyone I have ever seen. His speed is tremendous -- allowing him to hit his target square off the counter punch. Pacquiao has great ring generalship as he controls the center of the ring and forces his opponent to fight while moving backwards. And to be a great fighter you have to have solid footwork. Watching Pacquiao plant his right foot right in between Hatton's two legs and fire away gives him total control of his body. He is never off center, never out of position and never caught off guard.

After watching Pacquiao's performance Saturday night I have to wonder just what the heck Floyd Mayweather Jr. is thinking in coming out of retirement. It is inevitable that Mayweather will end up fighting Pacquiao, he can't come back and duck him. And when he fights him I can't see how -- even as good as Mayweather is -- he can beat this man.

All boxers have a hard time saying goodbye to the sport, especially when there is more money to be made. So Mayweather will come back win a fight or two and then cash in on what will become one of the biggest marquee fights of all time when he challenges Pacquiao.

In his last two fights the Filipino has retired De la Hoya and now likely Hatton as he contemplating hanging up the gloves. He will do the same to Mayweather -- this time for good. Mayweather may see $$$ but he will be seeing **** if he gets in the ring with the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

If I was advising Mayweather I would tell him to stay retired. The fight fan wants to see the bout in the worst way and Mayweather can seal his legacy as one of the best ever if he defeats Pacquiao. But I just don't see it happening. And a loss, especially if it is by knockout, will tarnish the Mayweather legacy to some degree. So stay retired Floyd, because right now no one can beat Pac Man.


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Heartbroken Hatton lost for words in Las Vegas

The fastest mouth in boxing stayed tightly shut on Monday as Ricky Hatton peered through the fog of his concussion and saw the unwanted spectre of a future outside the ring.

No snappy one-liners. No quickfire claims to an exalted place in the pantheon of British prizefighting. Not after being rendered senseless by Manny Pacquiao and hurried to hospital for brain scans.

The Hitman who feared no man inside the ropes could not confront the reality of his high-octane career approaching its end.

Hatton had spent months in denial after his first defeat, at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jnr. The referee that night, Joe Cortez, was tortuously rationalised as the culprit, even though Manchester’s pride and joy was outclassed en route to that knockout.

But there is no talking his way out of Saturday night’s two-round slaughter in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, so he said nothing.

Defeat is the loneliest of all the isolated places in the solitary sport of boxing but it is unusual for a leading practitioner not to emerge after a night of combat, win or lose.

Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Prince Naseem Hamed et al came out to face their public after being knocked out.

Hatton could argue Pacquiao’s lightning fists had said it all. Yet by declining to explain himself to the world’s media he effectively refused to speak to the thousands of fans who journeyed here in support of what became his last shot at boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound crown.

Perhaps there is a commercial edge to his silence. Gareth Williams, the lawyer who is chief executive of Hatton Promotions, indicated that the Hitman will at their new state-of-the-art gymnasium in Hyde, Greater Manchester two weeks from now.

But will the world still be listening?

The unspoken message suggests he knows that his fighting days are over but cannot bring himself to admit it.

Thankfully, the medics pronounced his brain free from permanent damage after one of the most profound knockouts in boxing history. The state of his mind is another matter.

He was well enough to host a pool party in the VIP swimming area at the MGM but not ready to discuss the weighty implications of being pounded into oblivion by the Filipino idol who is the greatest fighter in the world today. Hatton will never boast that accolade and the IBO and Ring Magazine belts of his four-year light-welterweight dominance have gone with it.

Of themselves, those titles were marginal but their loss leaves Nottingham’s Carl Froch as Britain’s only current world champion following his dramatic late stoppage of America’s Jermain Taylor in Connecticut the Saturday before the Hitman bit the dust in the Nevada desert.

We must wait to find out exactly how Hatton feels about that, but by the time we do, attention will be turning to David Haye and Amir Khan as they ready themselves to challenge Wladimir Klitschko and Andreas Kotelnik for their respective heavyweight and lightwelter world championships.

Pacquiao has recharged the hard old game with box-office excitement.

Mercifully, unless he commits the folly of ignoring the mother of all warnings he has been given here, boxing leaves Hatton with his faculties apparently intact.


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Clearly, Ricky Hatton intended to clinch, hold and roughhouse all night long had he not been flattened early.

If indeed there was a new and improved Hatton he and his trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. crowed about, there was not even a glimpse of it. What we saw was a confused and crude brawler who would sneak a right shot to the belly while his left arm seized Pacquiao’s neck or right arm.

Against Pacquiao, Hatton was clearly the glorified club fighter some critics derided him to be. In fact, he certainly looked much more respectable against the slippery Pretty Boy Floyd whom he could not manhandle the way he did Jose Luis Castillo. It was with the latter on whom Hatton had probably the greatest success with his formula of wrestling, pushing, holding and banging away. Rattled very early by Pacquaio’s bombs, the Mancunian brawler could not show any of the improvements he and his trainer claimed he has acquired in camp. Abundantly fed illusions by his trainer that he “can beat this guy everyday of the week”, he seemed unaware of the fact known to millions: if Pacquiao were a warplane, one could say he has flown the most dangerous sorties dropping hundreds of smart bombs right on target.

Confronting such lethal precision, Hatton couldn’t fight dirty as much as he wanted using mixed martial arts techniques of pushing, wrestling and holding which are part of his dubious arsenal. To the eternal credit of referee Kenny Bayless, Hatton’s dirty tricks department was on check, forcing him ,most of the time, to observe the standard of clean fighting set by the Filipino pound for pound king. Stripped of his dirty tricks long passed on as boxing skills, his severe limitations were exposed. He walked directly into the line of fire, had a porous defense and had no Plan B. These are limitations which a rowdy, boisterous hordes of beer guzzling supporters cannot compensate for.

Publicly, unlike his cocky trainer, Hatton showed respect towards Pacquiao and the Filipinos. The disrespect, however, was reserved in the ring because it was part of the battle plan and because he knew of no other way to fight despite professing to be a “new fighter who can box and will shock the world” or words to that effect.

True enough, as Freddie Roach proclaimed, it would be too late to change Ricky Hatton. After he gets hit, the sober minded Freddie would say, Hatton would inevitably revert to his old habit of brawling, pushing, wrestling. Against the clean fighting Filipino, the Briton’s roughhousing tactics became pretty obvious albeit controlled.

Fortunately, the fans didn’t have to endure seeing these tactics for more than six minutes. Unfortunately, though, the fans had to endure Mayweather Sr.’s inane poetry, sheer arrogance and insensitivity for weeks. His crazy antics continued even after the fight, putting all the blame on his fighter and insisting he is a better than “joke coach Roach”.

Fittingly, the clean (Pacquiao) and the meek (Roach) triumphed in this fight to inherit the earth – even if it is just the fleeting world of fame, fortune and now, bigger prizes. Not very bad, isn’t it?


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Manny in the money after Las Vegas win

The Filipino knocked out the plucky but outclassed Briton in Las Vegas on Saturday night -- earning him by a conservative estimate at least $2 million dollars per minute.

Hatton, who could well now hang up his gloves, will pocket more than $8 million as a consolation.

Pacquiao's all-action style is popular with boxing followers and in his native Philippines the theaters which screened his fight live with Hatton were sold out well in advance with a ferocious demand for tickets.

But the really big money lies in the Pay Per View (PPV) revenues generated by the U.S. Home Box Office (HBO) network.

USA Today reported Monday that early indications from cable companies were that the scheduled 12-round light-welterweight bout could get as many as two million buys.

Co-promoter Bob Arum was delighted with the figures especially as initial estimates were suggesting about one million boxing fans would shell out their cash.

"We know based on those early numbers and based on experience the event will perform extremely well. If I had to guess, anywhere between 1.6 million and two million homes, which is a home run," he said.

The record for a PPV event is the 2.4 million buys for 'Golden Boy' Oscar De La Hoya's May 2007 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which generated a staggering $134 million in revenue.

Mayweather, who also beat Hatton in another 'superfight' at the back end of 2007, astutely chose Saturday night in Vegas to announce he was coming out of retirement.

Mayweather, nicknamed 'money' because of the enormous revenues he generates, will face Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18 in his return to the ring.

But the talk of the boxing world is an eventual match up against Pacquiao with the notional pound for pound title at stake as well as a massive pay day.

"If Mayweather wants a piece of the 'little Filipino', just be my guest," Arum said before the dust had barely settled on the Hatton fight.

With the flamboyant De La Hoya retired after being handed a painful beating by Pacquiao at the back end of 2008, the mantle of PPV king is set to fall to one of the two men who ended his ring career.

Despite the global recession, the appetite for top prize fighting remains strong, but it is the more flamboyant characters who draw the biggest audiences.

Last November's HBO clash between former pound for pound champion Roy Jones Jr. and the brilliant undefeated Welsh world champion Joe Calzaghe drew less than 250,000 buys.

The only potential obstacle to a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, the dangerous Marquez aside, is the relative sizes of the two men.

Mayweather is a natural welterweight and would want a fight at 147 pounds, with Pacquiao, who started his remarkable career at light-flyweight, wanting the match at a lower weight.

But big business and money is set to talk and many predict the showdown will come late this year, almost certainly in Las Vegas.


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Hatton camp hits back at Mayweather comments

Ricky Hatton and trainer Floyd Mayweather could part ways, according to Hatton Promotions chief executive Gareth Williams.

The British fighter was brutally knocked-out by Manny Pacquiao in their IBO light-welterweight clash on Saturday night. Reports pointed to unrest in the Hatton camp, especially between Mayweather and assistant trainer Lee Beard, as one of the reasons why Hatton was so easily beaten.

"It's an interesting point but the one person to blame is Pacquiao," Hatton Promotions chief executive Gareth Williams said.

"Lee's a lot more involved with Ricky Hatton than Floyd Mayweather is. Floyd Mayweather was brought in for 12 weeks to do a job and that's the end of it. "

Mayweather said afterwards that Hatton had failed listen to his instruction to keep his hands up and that's why he lost. The trainer was also quoted as saying that Hatton should retire now, but Williams hit back by saying it wasn't Mayweather's place to say what Hatton should do and hinted their link-up could be over.

Williams said: "He's (Mayweather) finished now and we don't know what's going to happen. Lee Beard's with Hatton Promotions 365 days a year, Floyd Mayweather's there for 12 weeks before a fight and that's the difference."

Meanwhile, Hatton himself apologised to his legion of fans, who had travelled from Britain to witness the second round loss and held a poolside party for them at the MGM Grand Hotel.


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Pacquiao gunning for sixth world title at welterweight

LAS VEGAS: Manny Pacquiao achieved a measure of boxing immortality with his sensational victories against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, two of the best and most popular fighters of their generation.

Now, he wants to solidify that legacy, aiming for a record sixth world title at welterweight, possibly against Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr., or even Shane Mosley.

“No, I don’t think they’re really big for me,” he said of his potential opponents during a conversation with a small group of Filipino journalist during the long drive from here to Hollywood, California.

“Actually, I feel good at my weight against Hatton,” said Pacquiao, who won his fifth world title at junior welterweight, with a devastating second round knockout of Hatton on Saturday night. “I can fight at welter, because I’ve done it before against Oscar De La Hoya.”

He added that he would fight Juan Manuel Marquez again, should he win against come-backing Mayweather in their July 18 fight at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, PacMan to his legion of fans worldwide, said he would take his family to a holiday in Australia by the end of May, after spending time with his children in the Philippines who were unable to join him and wife Jinkee for his last fight.

‘Lethal Weapon’

Pacquiao earned the accolades of top boxing scribes following his Saturday win over Hatton, which was described as his most dominant win since campaigning in different weight classes in the United States.

“Manny Pacquiao can no longer be identified as a boxer. Lethal weapon, maybe. Or destroyer missile,” said Los Angeles Times’ Bill Dwire. “Whatever the definition, he is unquestionably the sport’s top gun.”

“The man from Manchester was manhandled,” said Dwire, a veteran sports pundit.

The Ring Magazine’s Michael Rosenthal said PacMan’s amazing run of victories, especially in the last few years, has earned him his place among the world’s all-time boxing greats.

“In his last fight, he embarrassed the biggest star in the sport, Oscar De La Hoya, at 147. And on Saturday … well, how do you describe that?” Rosenthal said.

“Ricky Hatton is one of the toughest fighters on the planet, an accomplished champion who has proved his mettle over a full decade. And 140 pounds is his natural weight; he is strong and confident there.

“And Pacquiao smashed him like a cheap glass vase.”

Likened to Sugar Ray Leonard

Rosenthal said Pacquiao could be the best fighter since Sugar Ray Leonard, adding this says as lot about the Filipino icon.

Other great fighters came after Leonard, including Pernell Whi­taker, Roy Jones Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez, Evander Holyfield and a handful more, he said.

“However, none of the above combined explosive speed and power against the highest level of opposition over such a long period time like Pacquiao. And, obviously, he has won consistently: he’s 17-1-2 [14 knockouts] against some of the best fighters in the world since hiring Freddie Roach as his trainer in 2001,” Rosenthal said.

He noted that Bob Arum, who worked with the likes of Mu­hammad Ali, Marvin Hagler and Leonard, thinks Pacquiao ranks among them.

“I think he may be the best,” said Bob Arum, who earlier said he is working on another Pacquiao megafight, possibly in the last quarter of the year.


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Mismatch yet again

Forgive me for playing boxing pundit again, but I think we could all be allowed more than a little bit of euphoria. Manny Pacquiao gave us Christmas in the middle of summer.

It’s really so good to be a Filipino when Manny wins. I know one Filipino who intentionally watched the Manny vs. Ricky Hatton fight in Nomads Club, an exclusive club tucked away inside Merville, Parañaque, that has more European, mostly British expatriate members than Filipino members. He was supremely confident of a Pacquiao victory and the boasting rights that go along with it. Of course, he wasn’t disappointed.

Freddie Roach was right all along. The loudmouth Floyd Mayweather Sr., can talk up the game all he wants, but as Roach said, he really had the better fighter. As it turned out, Pacquiao was way, way better. It was clearly a mismatch against Hatton in favor of the Filipino, just as it was when Pacquiao fought against Oscar De La Hoya.

They never gave Manny a chance against De La Hoya and he proved doubters wrong. Even when he won against the Golden Boy he didn’t get full credit. Hatton said Pacquiao won’t be fighting against a dehydrated De La Hoya this time. His trainer Mayweather said De La Hoya was over the hill when Pacquiao got to him. Mayweather didn’t consider for one second that it took his son Floyd Junior all of 12 rounds and a very controversial split decision to win against De La Hoya.

What they were saying was, it wasn’t just Pacquiao; that Manny’s opponents were just not at their best when they fought him (contrary to what Manny’s opponents were boasting all along before the fights).

It’s the same thing they said of Manny’s victories against Barrera and Morales. That Morales was dehydrated and had trouble making weight. That Barrera was too old. That Morales was too old. Excuses, excuses. They just couldn’t accept that Manny is that good, and is even getting better. But that is the solid truth—Manny was just the superior fighter.

All throughout, Manny, whether before or after his fights, made no empty boasts, and promised only to do his best and leave it all up to God. That’s why Filipinos and foreigners alike embrace Manny. He is the champion any country would like to have. He remains humble and God-fearing and treats his opponents with respect even after he demolishes them in the ring. He told De La Hoya, “You will always be my idol.” He gave Hatton credit for hitting him hard, and didn’t even mention that the British boxer was playing dirty by holding him and hitting him at the same time.

Manny does his talking on the ring and exacts his revenge through his victories. And it’s sweeter that way.

Watching the Pacquiao-Hatton 24-7 on the eve of the fight made by blood boil, I tell you. Hatton and Mayweather never gave Manny one ounce of respect. They called him an amateur among many other things. Never have I prayed for an overwhelming Pacquiao victory, one that would shut up critics once and for all.

Just remember that Floyd Mayweather Junior, that other loudmouth who is just like his father, who hit and ran away from De La Hoya, had trouble against Hatton and only got to him by the 10th round. But against Pacquiao, Hatton never stood a chance; he never hurt Manny, and went down in two rounds.

Who is left for Manny Pacquiao? So he retired the great Erik Morales. He retired the great Marco Antonio Barrera. The third part of that legendary Mexican triumvirate, Juan Manuel Marquez, he beat twice. He retired Oscar De La Hoya. Now, we hear people saying Ricky Hatton should call it quits too after that vicious head blow from Manny.

Manny Pacquiao is now not only the pound-for-pound king. People are saying he could very well be the greatest boxer ever, a title which once belonged only to the revered Muhammad Ali, who had none of Pacquiao’s humility during his prime.

Manny deserves all the accolades. I wish him the best. Most of all, I wish that he can retire in his prime, like I mentioned in a previous column. I don’t like him to retire a defeated fighter like his opponents. I don’t want him to retire hurt. Of course, he gives us so much joy and enormous pride when he’s fighting, but I still don’t want him fighting too long, long enough for father time to catch up with him. I want him to be able retire a champion, on his own terms, and at his best.


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Updated Pound-For-Pound List, After Two Months Of Moving And Shaking

Did you hear the one about how Floyd Mayweather, Jr. thinks he gets to retain his title as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, that is, the best fighter in the world regardless of weight division? "I am the king and no one has taken my crown," he said Saturday afternoon as he announced his unretirement.

BWAHAHAHA. Good one, Floyd. You crack me up. I know you were bowling Saturday night so you didn't see what Manny Pacquiao did to your former opponent Ricky Hatton, but your joke was a heckuva lot funnier retroactively because of Pacquiao-Hatton.

So I think we all know who the reigning king is. But it's been two months since I updated my top 20, and a good deal has happened since then.

My criteria focus heavily on track record against quality competition, with an emphasis on recent competition. For a lengthier explanation of those criteria, click here; one year of inactivity, for instance, will result in removal from the list, which explains the absense of the otherwise top-10-worthy Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez. For our last update, click here.

1. Manny Pacquiao (junior welterweight): Mayweather doesn't qualify even though he's unretired now because of his own inactivity. But even if he has a successful return in his July fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, he hasn't accomplished as much as Pacquiao and won't take back his "crown." Pacquiao stomped Mayweather's last two opponents, Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya, with ease, even though each gave Mayweather a little static. Pacquiao has already beaten Marquez, and he did it without asking Marquez to move between seven and 12 pounds beyond any weight he's ever fought at, the way Mayweather has arranged. And Pacquiao has beaten Marco Antonio Barrera and Eric Morales multiple times, both opponents that trump Mayweather's other best wins, over Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo.

2. Juan Manuel Marquez (lightweight): Some made an argument for Marquez at #1 after he beat Juan Diaz, and though I disagreed, it wasn't crazy. Marquez' wins over Diaz and Joel Casamayor, plus his arguable win over Pacquiao in early 2008, trumped Pacquiao's win over David Diaz and De La Hoya. With Pacquiao's demolition of Hatton, the argument holds significantly less water. But if Marquez upsets Mayweather? I'd put him at #1. Those are serious strategic advantages he'd have to overcome, and he'd be beating the next most recent pound-for-pound king. Strangely, though, there's some speculation out there this fight won't happen. De La Hoya said at the news conference Saturday that the fight would be at 143 lbs. Mayweather and his team, though, kept calling it a welterweight fight and wouldn't comment on the weight limit. Golden Boy's CEO then said it was 144 "max." Apparently we'll be getting a news release on this soon. But it is more than a little sloppy that the weight isn't settled yet, and more than a little crucial to Marquez' chances of winning.

3. Bernard Hopkins (light heavyweight): Hopkins isn't retired yet, but he sure is cornering himself career-wise. First he said he wanted a rematch with Joe Calzaghe. Calzaghe is retired and said he wouldn't give Hopkins a rematch anyway. Then he said he would be interested in fighting cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek, but he proceeded to lowball Adamek during negotiations to such a degree that negotiations broke off. He says he won't fight Chad Dawson, his most viable opponent at light heavyweight, and now he's talking about fighting super middleweight Carl Froch in a fight that is a long drop from Calzaghe, Adamek and Dawson, in both money and quality of opposition. But he's obviously still a vital boxer, judging by the evidence from his October defeat of Kelly Pavlik. He just can't move up if he's not fighting, and he risks being passed if he doesn't fight soon or doesn't fight top opponents.

4. Shane Mosley (welterweight): Mosley has an outside chance of getting a shot at Pacquiao, which would obviously enhance his opportunties to move up this list. It goes like this: Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum says he wants to match Pacquiao with Miguel Cotto by December. But Cotto could lose his fight next month with Joshua Clottey. Since Arum is insisting (be it negotiating gamesmanship or not) that Pacquiao deserves the biggest cut of dough against Mayweather, something Mayweather is unlikely to agree to, if Cotto's off the table, the next most viable opponent is Mosley. But if Mosley doesn't get Pacquiao, he also might end up as Mayweather's post-Marquez opponent. That, too, would give Mosley a chance to ascend this list. Since Mosley doesn't want Paul Williams, and a Cotto rematch looks unlikely for monetary reasons, there's also a chance Mosley won't be left with many options if he doesn't strike gold with Mayweather or Pacquiao.

5. Paul Williams (junior middleweight): For the life of me, I can't figure out why Ring magazine is STILL skeptical of Williams, who's not even in their pound-for-pound top 10. Before his layoff, Winky Wright was pound-for-pound top-10, and Williams absolutely blanked him last month, even though Wright fought pretty well. On the other hand, there are people arguing that Williams might be #1, and I think that's too far, although I see the case -- he's clearly an excellent fighter who it's hard to imagine anyone beating. His problem with moving up is the same as always, which is that other boxers avoid him like the plague. His risk/reward ratio is just too unfavorable. He's even talking about moving up to super middleweight to find fights. So far, nobody is biting, be it Mosley, Pavlik, Hopkins or anyone else. His most favorable scenario for a big, meaningful fight is if Clottey beats Cotto, because Clottey does want Williams, almost unique among fighters with name recognition.

6. Miguel Cotto (welterweight): As mentioned, Cotto figures into some big potential fights (Pacquiao, Mosley, etc.) if he gets past Clottey, and getting past Clottey -- quite the avoided, dangerous opponent himself -- would likely do him some good in my pound-for-pound standings.

7. Ivan Calderon (junior flyweight): Calderon has a decent test against Rodel Mayol on the Cotto-Clottey undercard, but it's probably not enough to leap upward if he wins. A mega-little-man-fight with Brian Viloria, which is likely afterward, judging by the talk from both sides? That would do the trick.

8. Vic Darchinyan (bantamweight): Darchinyan's stepping up to another weight class to fight Joseph Agbeko in July, a dangerous brawler and an attractive match-up. Darchinyan would move up a spot, I think, if he wins (although Dawson may pass him by then). I said before I wasn't sure beating Abeko would. I'm thinking now that it would.

9. Chad Dawson (light heavyweight): Dawson is the first person on my list to shift upward by the departure of Hatton, who drops from the list entirely because he was borderline top-10 at best and got destroyed in a way that raises questions about his future. Repeating his defeat of Antonio Tarver this weekend might shift him up one more. Let's see how it goes.

10. Kelly Pavlik (middleweight): Pavlik's only loss remains to Hopkins, and his last fight was against a top-10 middleweight whom he beat with ease. Beating Sergio Mora in June gets him virtually nothing, but a tentative agreement for a super fight with Arthur Abraham offers him plenty.

11. Nate Campbell (junior welterweight): Campbell is slightly higher here than I'm comfortable with, because I thought he was lucky to get the win against Ali Funeka. I can't figure out who he fights next, though.

12. Tomasz Adamek (cruiserweight): If only he had got that shot at Hopkins. He would have lost, probably, but if he had won, look out. Instead, he's now likely to fight a non-status-enhancing opponent like Matt Godfrey. Still, he might be underrated by some.

13. Chris John (featherweight): A healthy John, in a neutral location this time, is likely to beat Rocky Juarez more soundly than he did a couple months back. Look for John to inch up come June. I know some don't like him, but I'm sold on his abilities.

14. Nonito Donaire (flyweight): Donaire is my biggest climber. He recently sliced through Roman Martinez, an opponent expected to give him a tough go, and that Darchinyan win looks better all the time. If he gets and beats Fernando Montiel, he's top 10.

15. Wladimir Klitschko (heavyweight): I hate that Klitschko keeps holding on to a spot this high, but he keeps benefiting from others' missteps, like Jermain Taylor's departure. At least a June win over David Haye, if he can do it, offers him some positive arguments for staying put.

16. Arthur Abraham (middleweight): A talked-about fight against Giovanni Lorenzo this summer is more of Abraham spinning his wheels. Talent-wise, he's got the look of a top-10 p4p boxer, but absent a marquee win, such as over Pavlik, he hasn't proven it.

17. Celestino Caballero (junior featherweight): His recent shaky win -- some thought he lost -- against a relatively unknown opponent justifies, I think, Caballero being this low, rather than top 10 like Ring has him. Yuriorkis Gamboa, up next, offers chances for a modest increase.

18. Mikkel Kessler (super middleweight): Like Abraham, he's got it all talent-wise, but his level of competition recently and prospectively is so terrible he hasn't been able to rebound ranking-wise following a forgivable setback against Calzaghe.

19. Juan Manuel Lopez (junior featherweight): His beatdown of Gerry Penalosa two weekends ago debuts him in the top 20. Others have better top wins than Penalosa and Daniel Ponce De Leon, but Lopez' talent makes me think he's a p4p #1 man some day.

20. Fernando Montiel (bantamweight): Montiel debuts for no reason byond others dropping off, and I'm not convinced he's worthy quite yet. I don't know how much beating Eric Morel next month helps him substantially, but if he beats Donaire next, that would.

Hanging around: Floyd Mayweather, Jr.; Israel Vazquez; Rafael Marquez; Vitali Klitschko; David Haye; Hozumi Hasegawa; Glen Johnson; Ricky Hatton; Roman Gonzalez; Joan Guzman

(As always, I'm interested in everyone else's lists, too. So drop them in the comments section if you wanna.)


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Freddie Roach Says He Thinks Floyd Mayweather Jr Is Scared Of Manny Pacquiao

by James Slater - Will he or won't he? That's the question fight fans the world over are currently asking themselves when it comes to whether or not Floyd Mayweather Junior will fight the quite awesome Manny Pacquiao. In training for his next fight - a "comeback" affair against Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez - "Money" is under immense pressure to fight the lethal Filipino southpaw after that (assuming he beats Marquez, naturally).

Calling himself the greatest fighter of his era, if not of all-time, the unbeaten 32-year-old will not be able to go anywhere without someone or other asking him, 'when you gonna fight Pacquiao, Floyd?' This is almost certainly going to jar the multi-weight champ's pride, but will it jar it enough to make him take what could well be the most exciting and important fight of this decade..

Right now the most talked about and thrilling fighter in all of boxing, Pacquiao and his team are in the driving seat and are in a fine position to be able to call the shots.

Speaking to Ring magazine, trainer Roach made it clear whoever wants to fight "Pac-Man" will have to do so at 140-pounds, as this is the weight Manny feels most formidable at today. A few additional pounds aside - maybe 143 or 144 - Pacquiao will not look to box any higher, says Roach.

"You know what, we fight at 140," Roach told Ring. "These guys are going to have to meet us in the middle somewhere. Everyone wants to fight Manny Pacquiao now. He'll make you money."

Being more specific about the guys that want to fight Pacquiao next, Roach mentioned the Mayweather-Marquez winner from July, Miguel Cotto and reigning WBA welterweight king "Sugar" Shane Mosley.

"Mayweather could've fought Manny (in his comeback fight)," Roach said. "He just had to wait one day. I think he's scared of Manny..... We're not going to wait around. I want to keep Manny busy. A busy fighter is a good fighter. I'd like [him[ to fight in November or December.

"If Cotto wants to come down a few pounds, we can make that happen. If Shane Mosley wants to come down a few pounds, we can make that happen."

Either of the possible fights Roach mentioned would be hugely attractive match-ups, but it is the Mayweather fight everyone really wants to see. Freddie admitted to Ring that Mayweather's style would perhaps give Pacquiao some trouble.

"That's a style that would give Manny some trouble," Freddie said of Mayweather's boxing style. "Manny likes when guys come to him. He used to be just aggressive but now he's a good counter-puncher. He could do both, though. Mayweather would pose problems. But if Mayweather laid on the ropes, Manny would beat the shit out of him."

With Roach also claiming Pacquiao is now a more complete fighter than he was even as recently as the second fight with Marquez, the superb little fighter who has an entire country in his corner clearly represents Mayweather Junior with his greatest challenge.


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Mayweather's garbage turns Pacquiao into Sir Laughalot

“I beat fighters and turn them into bitches. They go out and put on fish nets. That’s what I do.”—FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR. MARKING HIS OFFICIAL RETURN TO THE RING.

I wasn't aware but I am now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. had fought so many transvestites, so many cross dressers.

Not that there is anything wrong with getting in touch with one's frilly, feminine fun side of course.

I am a libertarian when it comes to such kinky amusement although I have never worn any pumps or thongs, I must admit. But, what the hey, Erin go bra less and like that.

I wasn’t there for these comments, having been banned in Las Vegas by some Nervous Nellies in the Ricky Hatton camp if you can call that a camp.

Yes, it is that, something like a Girl Scout camp watching its cookies crumble.

So I am not sure if Mayweather’s garbage, I refuse to call it simple trash talk because this is toxic waste, was put out directly to the face of Oscar De La Hoya. If Oscar does not call Mayweather on this, privately if not publicly, then I hate to say it but Oskie Dolla Hoya is a rhymes with so rich.

And what of ODLH henchman Richie Rich Schaefer? Did he laugh, guffaw and slap his knees at this riotous remark by PBF? There is a lot more Gordon Gecko than Tex Rickard coursing through the veins of the Boxing Banker.

He makes Snidely Whiplash seem like a kindly soul at times and this had to be one of those times.

You see, the Goldens are playing a game with the Mayweather/Juan Manuel Marquez fight of July 18. It’s the old good cop (Oscar)/bad cop (Schaefer) routine as they each pretend to totally support one of the two fighters when the only real thing they fully support is the GBP bottom line. When Schaefer speaks we are all supposed to say, "Bad cop, no donut!"

In my case, it's more like, "Bad writer, no press pass!"

Now I suppose I am banned from that show as well. Oh, the price of the truth sometimes runs high but I’m not shutting up or shutting down for any boys, Golden or Tinsel varieties.

Exactly who does Mayweather, who one inflamed source tells me, has to give his entire purse (perhaps about $10 million) over to his friendly IRS tax bill collectors, think is scared by the sound of his silly wolf tickets?

Juan Ma isn’t listening to it unless PBF suddenly starts doing some habla espanol. He can wear a MAYWEATHER LOVES MEXICO robe and a nifty sombrero but I don’t Mayweather studying at Berlitz or using the Rosetta Stone course to learn the language any time soon, do you?

Hey, news flash to Floyd: Juan Ma no entiende su basura.

I do guarantee that such talk from a cat who had to go 10 rounds with Ricky Hatton as opposed to Manny’s two round blitzkrieg of the same punching bag from the UK will get an immediate and visceral reaction from the Ring King from Gensan.

Pacquiao will become Sir Laughalot when Mayweather starts talking his best Fitty Cent ghetto rap attack at the Pinoy Idol.

Mayweather may turn out to be unintentionally the funniest guy this side of Dave Chappelle.

Which reminds me of Chappelle’s wicked line about San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district, “There is nothing tender about that motherflyer!”

There was nothing tender about Hatton being cooked in about the same time it takes to properly make poached eggs.

Not that I mean any insult to my beloved poachie woachies, a breakfast dream. I mean, what is better in the morning than “Adam and Eve on a raft, don’t break ‘em?”

Actually, Richard John Hatton wasn’t really poached.

He looked more scrambled at the finish, I’d say.

Pacman turned the so-called Hitman into the Hurtman in quick order. Downtown Hiroshima did not go down as fast as the Mancunian idol did.

And that superlative, furious mission statement by Megamanny is why Mayweather’s b---- talk is hot air.

It’s sound minus fury and, to Manny Pacquiao the Smiling Warrior, it’s just another comedy act.

If Mayweather really thinks he will see a scared Megamanny wearing exotic women's lingerie, he is a truly sick puppy dog.

And, like a puppy dog, we already know that his b---- barking is worse than his Pitty Pat, Rat A Tat bite.


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Manny Pacquiao screams: I can whip Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Michael Marley's open letter to Manny Pacquiao:

Dear Manny:

It has come to my attention that I need to bring some things to your immediate attention. I do realize you were a little busy, particularly on Saturday night.

Why did you only batter Ricky Hatton for just five minutes 59 seconds, Megamanny?

Were you trying to get over to LA for a quick flight back to Manila?

How did your sainted mother enjoy her first trip to the US?

Please tell her the whole country is not as wild and whacky as Las Vegas.

I hear your religious Mom spent most of the fight on her knees. In that regard, she was just like the overwhelmed Hatton, eh? Your mother was praying and Hatton didn’t have one.

Listen, do not get upset by me calling you the Happy Hooker. It’s nothing tawdry but merely a reflection of your amazingly fast and powerful punches, which Paulie Malignaggi predicted would make Hatton look like a guy stuck in quicksand, and your smiling warrior persona.

I hear HBO is replaying this brief movie, "Bring Me The Head Of Richard John Hatton," this Saturday night in conunction with the proably abysmal Chad Dawson-Antonio Tarver rematch.

I’ve got some news flashes for you, Manny. I will go in reverse order of their importance as you begin settling back into your not training to kick someone’s butt regular life.

1. TIME MAGAZINE’S NEW POLL: You ranked high in their “Most Influential” poll but I think now they are going with a “Most Destructive” poll in which I predict you will finish off any challengers in about five minutes and 59 seconds.

2. DOS EQUIS BEER WANTS YOU NOW: The guys over at Dos Equis are more than a little peeved about how Tecate is taking a bid ride in boxing. Tecate, which came in through Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya, made those big beer cans with the pictures of you and Hatton on the side. Wow, what a Mexican-theme Cinco De Mayo gift for one and all. I can understand why, while standing strong with your beloved country, you might want to become a dual citizen and fly the red, white and blue flag also. Only in America could we have a big beer company pushing a Brit and a Pinoy fighter on a big Mexican holiday. Well, the reason I mention Dos Equis because I am hearing they are dropping the suave, sophisticated and debonair greybeard cat who they called “the Most Interesting Man in the World.” And now their focus is on landing the real, the genuine, the bonafide “Most Interesting Man in the World” as their commercial icon. If you don’t know who I am talking about yet, pal, just look into your nearest mirror. More moolah plus free cerveza for you. I guess this is the ultimate compliment from the Mexican people and I am sure this will steam up Juan Manuel Marquez endlessly.

3. COACH ROACH’S NEW PEDESTAL: Manny, my Boston homeboy might be brought into the Obama Administration as an international hot spot troubleshooter in his spare time. And why not since Coach Freddie seems to have a Midas touch in boxing. Everything he touches, turns to gold while everything Floyd Mayweather touches turns to dreck. “Pretty Daddy” has turned into a Reverse Midas. I say let’s just hail Trainer of Every Year Roach as this generation’s Angelo Dundee/Eddie Futch and be done with it. I will note, however, that you could have carried Hatton into the third round to make Freddie look even more precisely prescient, lol! If we had a Mt. Rushmore for fight trainers, Roach’s mug would be on it now.

4. FORMER KING HAS RETURNED: What the hell was the Golden Boy brain trust, and I use the phrase loosely, thinking by trotting out Pretty Boy Floyd and Juan Ma Saturday morning in Vegas when all the media carousers are still shaking off their Friday night hangovers? Bad timing, Goldens, as Manny went out and made a statement which screams: I CAN BEAT MAYWEATHER, I WILL BEAT MAYWEATHER, I AM THE RING KING AS LONG AS I SAY I AM. If you can hit PBF with some of those lightning and thunder combos you nailed Hatton with, Mayweather won't boxing trunks, he will need pajamas because he, too, will go to sleep.

5. MICHAEL MARLEY DON’T NEED NO STINKING BADGES: You probably never heard because you might have considered pulling out of the fight but some ribbon clerk on Team Hatton conspired with the Golden Boys to deny me, for the first time since Ali-Liston II in Lewiston circa 1965, a press credential. I know revenge is a dish best served cold. But my Irish temper—ask Coach Roach he can tell you about that—got the best of me. I rang up said ribbon clerk Sunday morning and suggested he put his credential, as Larry Holmes likes to say, “Where the sun don’t shine.” And I didn’t mean in the MGM Grand sports book, either. I’m not proud of this, Manny, and I will henceforth try to be a gracious, sportsmanlike winner just as you are.

Have a nice vacation, Champ. Marquez-Mayweather could be a somewhat interesting fight but, even if Pitty Pat Floyd Kos Juan Ma in two rounds or vice versa, your perch remains safe. The winner of that July 18 fight cannot possibly be The Man unless and until they beat The Man-ny.

As Frank Bruno used to say on TV to Harry Carpenter, “Know wot I mean, ‘Arry?”

Sincerely Yours, Your White Gorilla (say hello to your lawyer, “The Jackal”)


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Hatton’s size, power, drum and bugle core not enough

THE crowd was in a state of shock at the MGM Grand. The much-anticipated fight, dubbed “East vs. West,” certainly had the fireworks it was shaped to be. It’s ending, however, was not expected.

Drama unfolding

THE drama began several days earlier as supporters of both fighters slowly trickled into Las Vegas. The flights from Manila were extraordinarily full as Filipinos flew in to cheer Manny Pacquiao in his attempt to steal the International Boxing Organization light-welterweight belt from Ricky Hatton.

Walking around the Vegas strip show a marked increase in the number of Ricky Hatton supporters, some already beginning to air their loud support for their own boxing hero. Although Hatton held the belt, what was truly on the line was the question on who is the world’s best, pound-for-pound.

The weigh-in was an indication of how it was going to be like during the fight. The Brits brought in a drum and bugle core to guide them as they chanted, whistled and cheered to support their champion. They collectively created a thunder-like sound that to some may be the variable that provides Hatton the boost to beat Pacquiao.

The fight plan

AFTER the weigh-in, during separate talks, the respective trainers of the two boxers provided a glimpse of their game plan.

Freddie Roach intimated that all Pacquiao had to do was to implement what they practiced for. Their drills consistently included fighting from a distance, moving to his right and throwing well-timed right hooks. All these because they expected Hatton to keep on moving forward.

Floyd Mayweather Sr., on the other hand, shared that aside from Hatton’s size and strength, there will be a lot of head movements, fakes and feints. The intention was to derail Pacquiao’s rhythm and provide opportunities for Hatton to throw his left hooks to the body and head.

The “Hitman” promised his supporters, all 25,000 of them who flew in just to watch him, that he will not disappoint. He clearly predicted a win.

The “Pacman,” true to form, replied that only God knows what is to happen.

Manny the magnificent

THAT fateful day on May 2, 2009, Manny Pacquiao erased any doubt that he was the best there is. In only two short rounds, Pacquiao destroyed the bigger and stronger Hatton.

Surprisingly, there was no adjustment on the part of Hatton. There was a total disconnect between how he was fighting and what his trainer said he would do. The pride of Manchester pressed forward and, in typical Hatton style, began to bully Pacquiao.

On the other hand, because it was exactly what Roach and his team prepared for, Pacquiao began countering effectively with his right hook and left lead straights.

The crowd went wild. Then the unthinkable happened. Hatton was tagged by a short but powerful right hook coming in. The Hitman went down on all fours and opted to wait for the 8-count before standing up.

The cheering from the Brits suddenly died down as the Filipinos took over. Cheers and shouts filled the arena as clearly Pacquiao had the punch to finish Hatton.

Instead of holding back and collect his thoughts, Hatton continued his aggressive style. He kept moving forward, which turned out be to Pacquiao’s advantage. Pacquiao caught Hatton again this time with a left hand sending him down to the canvas a second time.

Everyone held their breath in anticipation during the break between the first and second rounds. The predominantly Hatton crowd continued to chant to keep their man in the fight. It was, as it turned out, not enough.

In the second round, the dominance in skill and style of Pacquiao began to surface. Hatton opted to continue attacking, hoping to land that big punch that would negate his dismal performance in the first round. Pacquiao calmly countered and waited for the perfect moment. That moment came in the last few seconds of the round. In typical Pacquiao fashion, his feared left hand connected flush on the face of his opponent. Hatton fell flat on his back and laid motionless. The fight was stopped 2:59 of round 2.

The Filipinos began to rejoice. Pandemonium broke loose. Hatton supporters were stunned.

The fight leaves no doubt who the best fighter is today. As it turned out, the fighter who planned well and trained harder came out the victor. Once again, a magnificent performance by Manny Pacquiao.


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RICKY HATTON emerged from hospital here to a chorus of demands that he should quit boxing following his devastating second- round knockout by Manny Pacquiao.

Hatton required a brain scan after Filipino Pacquiao stunned him with two knockdowns in the first round and a chilling knockout in the second at the MGM Grand Arena.

Pacquiao’s highly-respected trainer Freddie Roach said: “It’s difficult for fighters to consider leaving the game, but Ricky should retire.

A knockout like this one is devastating. Very few boxers are ever the same after something like this.”

Hatton, 30, stayed on the canvas for two minutes and was unable to address his 10,000-strong army of fans. His trainer, American Floyd Mayweather snr, also said Hatton should quit.

He confirmed there had been trouble in the pre-fight camp, saying: “He didn’t keep his hands up like I said he
should. He should retire.”

Team lawyer Gareth Williams said Hatton would discuss his future with his father and manager, Ray, in the coming weeks.

Williams added: “Ricky has earned enough money so that he will never have to have another fight to earn a living. It’s his choice.

"But it’s too early to say what will happen. Nobody is closer to Ricky than his dad. I am sure they will talk about it soon.”

Ray Hatton said: “We will support him whatever his decision. He is perfectly all right.”


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The Walking Boxing Adage that is Manny Pacquiao

By Bong Paredes: There are many adages in boxing that a lot of sports journalists use like “Speed Kills”, “You can’t hit what you can’t see “, and the one that Mike Tyson made famous “Everybody’s got plans until they get hit”. After watching Pacquiao dismantle the former light welterweight king Ricky Hatton for two action packed rounds, the aforementioned adages seemed to fit perfectly in this situation.

I’m not going to try and sound like a genius by saying I knew all along that Pac will beat Hatton (though I really did) because even though that’s what eventually transpired, we all know that anything can happen in a prize fight. Even if Hatton is the clear underdog heading into the fight, he was a very live underdog as he was never beaten at 140 lbs..

When this fight was first announced everybody said that Hatton will be dismantled by Pac. After all didn’t he just “disfigure Dela Hoya’s beautiful face” as HBO’s Jim Lampley said? Hatton himself was quick to discredit that accomplishment saying that anybody would have beaten Dela Hoya that night. I agree that Oscar was nowhere near his best but what Ricky neglected to acknowledge was much of what happened that night was also because of the things Pac did well as opposed to what Oscar did not do. He kept on rambling about how much improvement he’s made, that he uses the jab more often and that his defense has improved to the point that he’s not going to be that easy to hit. Ricky would always point to his fight with Malignagi as reference should someone ask. In one episode of the 24/7 series of HBO Ricky went on to say that Pac does the same move every single time. Ironically, it’s the same move (or punch, the right hook) that led to his demise last night. He also said he’s going to win because he was a naturally bigger and stronger fighter and that Pac will not be able to deal with him.

I wonder if he really believed all of the things he said or if he just said those things to help sell the fight because after he was stormed by Pacquiao last night I remembered what both David Diaz and Oscar Dela Hoya said after they lost to PACMAN. Diaz said it’s not that he hits very hard, it’s his speed. He couldn’t see where the punches were coming from. He also said that Pac’s speed is deceiving because he doesn’t seem that fast on video. Oscar told Roach he was right in saying he can’t pull the trigger anymore. But part of it was because Pac did an excellent job of darting in and out to the point that Oscar was never able to find his groove and time Pacquiao. He was expecting Manny to use the jab and the fact that Manny used the short left to close the distance further confused him. Hatton obviously underestimated Manny’s speed and overestimated his by thinking he can lunge in without getting caught which proved disastrous for him as Manny was beating him to the punch every single time. The replay of the first knockdown says it all. The moment Manny noticed that Hatton would throw a wide left hook; he threw a short right hook of his own that hit Ricky flush as he ducked under Hatton’s hook in one motion. If there was a video illustration of “Speed Kills” in a boxing dictionary, that would be it.

Since day one, Hatton’s new trainer Floyd Sr. would often refer to Pacquiao as an amateur and that with him training and teaching Hatton how to box and the intricacies of the sweet science which includes “hit and not be hit” he’s certain that Hatton will be victorious. Hatton, if your going to listen to him before the fight talked a good game as well. He talked about how he’ll use the jab more like he did to Malignaggi and how he has improved his defense working with Floyd. Well, as what Mike Tyson would always say “Everybody’s got plans until they get hit”. The moment he got a taste of Manny’s speed and power, everything went out the window and he went back to what he knows best which is to brawl. Unfortunately for him Manny did a great job fighting at a distance and just pot shot Hatton till he got knocked out cold at the end of the 2nd round.

The sport of boxing is nowhere near as popular as it used to but it seems to be making some strides here in the Philippines thanks to Pacquiao’s ascension to greatness by continually challenging himself and always rising to the occasion every single time. As an iconic figure that every Filipino can identify with he brings the sport of boxing with him. He’s so big in The Philippines that referring to him as a “larger than life” superstar is an understatement and wouldn’t do him any justice.

If he’s popular now, I can’t even fathom what he’d be like if he could beat the former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. should they meet up sometime this year. But until then, let’s just sit back and enjoy Pacquiao’s biggest accomplishment to date by becoming The Ring Magazine light welterweight world champion by beating Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton. After all, “There’s only oooooooonne Manny Pacquiao!!!


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'The Greatness' of Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao landed 73 of 127 punches in just under six minutes against Ricky Hatton, including 34 of 53 power punches in the second round. Hatton connected on only 18 of 78.

Pacquiao's victory has historical undertones, with the 140lb world title belt having been on the line from The Ring Magazine. He has now won undisputed titles in three divisions.

Many fighters have won world 'titles' in three divisions, but this victory puts Pacquiao in great company in boxing history alongside Henry Armstrong (featherweight, lightweight, welterweight) and Bob Fitzsimmons (middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight) who won undisputed titles in three different weights at a time when there was still only one world sanctioning body.

In the first of those – in November 2003 – he defeated Marco Antonio Barrera for the Ring Magazine featherweight world title.

In March 2008, when he beat Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBC superfeatherweight world title (Marquez was also considered the world 130lb champion by The Ring, considered to be the Bible of boxing), and on Sunday, he took the The Ring magazine light welterweight title from Hatton.

Pacquiao has also fought in four weight categories in a span of fifteen months and won world titles in three of them. The Ring magazine belts aside, Pacquiao has also won four world titles from the major sanctioning bodies – the WBC flyweight, IBF superbantamweight, WBC superfeatherweight and WBC lightweight titles.


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Hatton: I'm sorry

RICKY Hatton has apologised to his army of fans in the wake of his devastating defeat to Manny Pacquiao which left the Hyde-based Hitman agonising over whether to quit boxing.

The Manchester fighter was knocked out in the second round of his IBO light-welterweight title bout in Las Vegas which confirmed the Filipino Pacman as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

But as he wrestled with the fall-out from the crushing defeat, Hatton said in a message to M.E.N Sport: "I would like to thank all the fans who came over to Vegas to support me and I know there were thousands back at home following the fight on TV and the radio who were all rooting for me.

"I apologise for letting my heart rule my head and I apologise to the fans who feel that I may have let them down."

Hatton, 30, who was comforted by his fiancée Jennifer Dooley, will have a family holiday later this month and, after the 'dust has settled', make up his mind about whether to end his fabulous career.

Acknowledging the views of controversial coach Floyd Mayweather Snr, and worried fans that Hatton should now quit the fight game, the fallen champ's father and manager Ray said: "Fans need not be worried. It is normal procedure and state law for anyone knocked out to go the hospital for a brain scan, spinal checks and other tests.

"Ricky is disappointed he had a rush of blood trying to please the fans and he told me it was the same old thing... wearing his heart on his sleeve.

"He is disappointed in himself. It was like a cavalry charge and I thought to myself from the first round `What's happened to the game plan?' He was really reckless. But he's not going to hide away and got himself out and about here, meeting his fans who all want to see him.

"He's 30 now and obviously his own man. He'll take his time to decide what to do about carrying on and whatever he's decided, he'll get support from his family.

"He knows we will back him. I told him he might have been beaten twice in his career but on both occasions it was by two of the best fighters on the planet.

"After a few days he'll be on a plane back home as he's determined to be back for the Manchester derby."


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Freddie Roach Talks to 8CountNews on Pacquiao Destruction Over Hatton!

8CountNews caught up with Freddie Roach as he was driving across the desert back to Los Angeles. Roach gives us his thoughts on Manny Pacquiao's knockout victory over Ricky Hatton. Freddie is is extremely happy with Manny's performance, and says that Manny executed the game-plan to perfection. Freddie also comments on Floyd Mayweather Sr, and what was said between the two after the fight. One thing is for certain, Manny and team Pacquiao wont be waiting on Floyd Mayweather Jr to make his next move. Roach says that they are the one's on top, and that they will dictate what happens with Manny next, and nobody else. Don't miss what else the most famous fight trainer in the world today had to say, in this exclusive podcast! caught up with famed fight trainer Freddie Roach as he was driving across the desert back to Los Angeles. Roach tells 8CN that he is very pleased with Manny's performance, and looks for Manny to return to the ring in November or December. Roach also makes it clear that he doesn't like Floyd Mayweather Sr, and tells us what he had to say to him after the fight. Check out what else the most famous fight trainer in the world had to say, only on 8CountNews!

BC – Freddie you're on the way back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas at this very moment. Give us your thoughts on Manny's performance.

FR – He had a great performance. We had a good game plan going into this, and we knew Ricky Hatton well. I told Manny if he didn't knock him out within 3 rounds that I would be disappointed, and everything worked out perfectly.

BC – Were you at all surprised by how ineffective Ricky Hatton was?

FR – He made fundamental mistakes. Me and Michael watched tapes together, we knew that he was very subject to a left hook. The final punch was the left hook, and that was the most perfect shot that you will ever see in life.

BC – It was the most devastating hook that I have ever seen. Were you concerned with Ricky Hatton's health at that point? It appeared that he was hurt very badly by that hook.

FR – Yea, you know he was knocked out before he hit the ground. He went down really hard, and we knew he wasn't going to get up after that. Manny is a great puncher at 140lbs now, the 8 weeks of hard work , and the game plan intact, he's is unbelievable at this point.

BC – Were you surprised at all by the little head movement that Ricky had?

FR – I thought he would have boxed him a little more. I knew he would come forward sooner or later, but he came forward right away. As soon as Manny closed the distance, it was over.

BC – Now all eyes are on a Mayweather vs Pacquiao fight. Mayweather just signed to fight Marquez. Are you surprised by the timing of all of this?

FR – Yes, all he had to do was wait one day, and he could have had Pacquiao. I don't think he wants Pacquiao. Marquez is a good fighter, but I think Mayweather is too big for him. I am surprised by this and it's unfortunate because the people want to see him fight Manny.

BC – Do you think Bob Arum and team Pacquiao will wait to see what happens with Mayweather vs Marquez, or will you guys move on to other options like a Shane Mosley for example?

FR – Were not going to wait for anybody. We are the one's on top right now, we don't need him, he needs us. We will fight again in Nov or Dec, we don't know who yet. We will negotiate and whatever brings the biggest money, that's who we will fight.

BC – When you compare Manny where he is now as a fighter, to the guy that walked into your gym many years ago, do you see the most devastating fighter you have ever had, or in boxing period?

FR – Well he's still getting better. I am telling you, that you have not seen the best Manny Pacquiao yet, he's going to get better.

BC – What part of Manny's game do you think he can still get better at?

FR – Well at this point of his career, it depends on who he's fighting. We work on the weaknesses of our opponent. It's pretty much the strategy of the fight, and the game plan of the fight. Manny is a much more mature fighter now than he has ever been.

BC – Have you had a chance to talk to Floyd Sr yet, and if so, what did you guys say?

FR – I shook his hand after the fight, and that's it. I really don't care for the guy, and I have nothing to say to the guy.

BC – I think Manny spoke for you last night. Do you have any closing thoughts for the fans?

FR – I want to say thanks for the support for Manny Pacquiao. Look forward to getting in there again, and we'll see you down the road.


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Mayweather-Pacquiao a possibility after Marquez

Emerging from retirement, undefeated and former six-time world champion fighter Floyd Mayweather of Grand Rapids has plans for a much busier schedule.

He told the Los Angeles Times he is prepared to fight as often as three times a year while accepting challenges from all of the top rivals near his weight class.

"How am I not the king when nobody's taken my throne?," Mayweather, dressed in black clothing and a stocking cap, said during a press conference Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas to announce his return to the ring. "If I can stick 'em up three times ... that's why I came in all black, because it's bank robbery, baby."

His initial plan is to steal the spotlight from undisputed lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico on July 18 in a matchup being billed as "Number One/Numero Uno" at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The fight is being contested at a catch weight of 143 pounds.

In addition to Marquez, Mayweather told the L.A. Times he'd welcome the opportunity to climb into the ring with the finest competition, including Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and the recently retired Oscar De La Hoya.

"All roads (to the pound-for-pound title) lead through Mayweather," his adviser, Leonard Ellerbe said.

Pacquiao, the reigning pound-for-pound champ, administered a second-round knockout of Ricky Hatton on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

"For me, I can fight anybody at 147 (pounds), or I can fight at 140, but he's got an upcoming fight with Marquez, and we'll see after the fight," Pacquiao told ESPN's Jaime Motta following the Hatton bout.

Speculation persists that Mayweather, who left the sport as the pound-for-pound king in December 2007 following a 10th-round technical knockout of Hatton, is in line for a megafight against Pacquiao -- if all goes well against Marquez.

Marquez has a split-decision loss and a draw against Pacquiao.

Promoter Bob Arum said a decision would not be made on Pacquiao's next opponent until after the Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey fight on July 13 in New York.

"Mayweather, if he wants a piece of the little Filipino, just be my guest," Arum said.

It is up to opponents, Mayweather insisted, to shut him up.

"I don't change for fighters, fighters change for me," he said. "Some day, someone might shut my mouth, but right now I am going to talk. I am the top dog and I am back in the spotlight."


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Mayweather Jr v Pacquiao - The mega fight

By Ryan Williamson - A while ago I wrote the article, could Mayweather Jr return for Pacquiao? Well after last nights fight and with news of Mayweather Jr's return against Juan Manuel Marquez (providing Floyd wins) that is what he will be heading for. This is the legacy defining mega fight Floyd Jr has been waiting for (which will already be well enhanced if he gets past JMM)..

I think if this fight can be made it could be as big as any other in history. If the fight is fought below welterweight Manny will have a great chance. Out of every fighter in the world around the light welterweight/welterweight divisions I think Manny has the style that is least likely to succumb to Floyd. He is as fast as Floyd, he too throws well timed accurate punches, both fighters move incredibly well, they both have great chins and heart. I think Floyd is fundamentaly a better boxer than Pacman and he is harder to hit than Manny. That could be the difference in the fight. I still think that Floyd has the tools to beat Manny but this could be the fight that He needs to show everyone that he is as great as he says he is. On the other hand this is not (at least in my mind) a 120-108 fight for Floyd. This could be that greatness defining fight that sees him have to overcome adversity to win. But there's just enough doubt in me that says that we could see Floyd's 0 go. That's what makes this fight such an exciting prospect.

After last nights showing Pacman proved his most effective fighting weight so far is 140, he should push for the fight to be as near to 140 as he can get it. I think Manny (although by default) is the Pound for Pound #1, he will be the main PPV draw. So I don't see him having to fight at welterweight. All I can say about this fight is "Let's get it on!" just like Mills would have told them.


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Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach stock soars to moon

You know how those wizards of Wall Street, the people who turned out 401Ks into 101Ks and less, do it.

They issue recommendations on stocks and they grade them BUY, SELL or stay static meaning HOLD.

I decided, now that Ricky Hatton has awoken from his early May nap, to do the same regarding people and things in boxing so…

MANNY PACQUIAO: BUY because the Pacman bandwagon is getting more full by the nanosecond. You will want to grab a seat or standing room BEFORE Megamanny decapitates Ugly Boy Mayweather. It won’t be a pretty scene, trust me!

It’s a bit ironic but so fitting that this once 105 pounds and now up to 148 Destroyer has turned into a smaller southpaw version of Smokin’ Joe Frazier (but with a crisp jab and fleet feet). I know he always mentions GenSan but Manny did live in Metro Manila as a young guy so let’s label him now The Thrilla From Manila.

I’m not saying Floyd Mayweather Jr. is trembling in his boxing boots this morning but he and Oscar De La Hoya must both be scratching their heads and asking, “What hath Coach Roach wrought?”

FREDDIE ROACH: BUY. The Nostradamus of boxeo told everyone this fight would not last three full frames. His prognostication was perfect because by my calculations not lasting two complete rounds is certainly a fight that did not last three rounds. (Let’s ignore the part where Coach Roach said it would highly competitive for that brief spell a la Hagler and Hearns.)

Clearly, the world’s preeminent trainer now and Up Above, even though they ended up with some ruffled feathers between them, I am sure Mister Eddie Futch, who trained Roach as a fighter and then trained him as a trainer, is smiling brightly.

Let me just add one thing about the harmony between Pacman and No Joke Coach Roach. In the recent past a world champion who is still fighting discovered that his manager and his own mother were cheating him of money. Imagine the psychic and financial pain this fighter felt with the woman who delivered him into the world robbing him blind…I bring this up only to say that the total trust between Freddie and Manny is a rare and wonderful thing in the sometimes stinking sewer of boxing.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR: HOLD and wait to see how this ho hum July 18 fight between he and Juan Manuel Marquez pans out. This is a fight which settles only one thing, who is the boss of Floyd or of Juan Ma. Pacman continues to rule the Pound For Pound roost once owned by Mayweather. Manny reaffirmed that with an exclamation point in his KO 2 Hatton. I wonder why Manny carried Ricky for so long.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.: SELL because the Hatton camp, bitter losers, will spread word far and wide through boxing circles about what a never on time, prickly pear Uncle Floyd can be. Yes, Rick beat the hell out of those mitt pads but the Pacman beat the hell out of him. It’s unfair to say Ricky never moved his head because it moved pretty fast between Pacman’s right and left hooks and falling rapidly to the ring mat. Mayweather tried to sell plenty of wolf tickets but they are uncashable now. It’s true, he may say, you can’t teach old British bulldog new tricks.

Who is the Joke Coach now, Floyd? I still regard you as a highly competent trainer despite your awesome consumption of Mountain Dew and Hatton’s flopping to the floor three times. There are better nights ahead, Pretty Daddy, you can bet your old Gerri curls on that. And you will work with promoters and managers who will give you money to pay for your daily diet of Kentucky Fried Chicken washed down with good, old Mountain Dew. Why Mountain Dew doesn't give you a commercial shot eludes me.

RICKY HATTON: SELL. Yes, his popularity will get him one or two farewell fights but his supposed changed lifestyle and domestic tranquility did him no good. He was at least dangerous in the ring when he had just come from the pub. He was a clueless Ricky Fatton as Pacquiao made him look like a guy caught in a revolving door of constant pain. I must say, though, Ricky’s Loyal Legion loves him none the less this morning than they did yesterday. He should be grateful for that and the money. (As I write this, the Hatton camp is nervously awaiting results of a Las Vegas hospital brain scan. Let's all hope and indeed pray that the results are good for this wounded warrior.)

RAY HATTON: SELL. His son was guaranteed $12 million but he restricted Team Hatton troupe to $50 food per diem. Cheep, cheep, cheep like a bird. Maybe he can get a UK TV show called “Father Knows Worst.” And maybe, just maybe, Papa H should have kept real boxing guys like Big Cigars Artie Pelullo and Brit Dennis Hobson in the inner circle. Meddlesome boxiung parents need to know their limitations and this ex-footballer does not seem to recognize that.

LEE BEARD: SELL if you can but this mouthy gym bag porter never had his stock listed. If he’s a top level boxing trainer, then I’m a NASA-trained astronaut. Never got along with “Pretty Daddy” and felt he should have been top dog in the Hatton camp. Bark, Lee, bark. Let’s just say this cat is no Enzo Calzaghe among British fight trainers. Talked big talk, walked small walk.

BOB ARUM AND TOP RANK: BUY. Best move Uncle Bob ever made through four decades beside all those Ali bouts was settling the lawsuit with the Golden Boys and moving on as Pacman’s lead promoter. Arum remains the boss with the hot sauce and handles a worldwide phenomenon who is approaching but now yet at his boxing peak. Scary stuff, eh Little Floyd?

GOLDEN BOY: BUY. One monkey don't stop the Golden show which rolls on as HBO's favored promoter. Goldens rumored to be trying to lure Carl Froch, super middleweight who remains England's only world champion, into their vast promotional boat even as you read this.


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Comment: Hat's that for Hitman

TEARS being shed at ringside should not be the way the Ricky Hatton story ends.

The script should read that the kid from the Hattersley estate defied the odds - and the pies and pints - and ended up ruling the world, glory be.

That dream came crashing to earth at the brutal fists of Manny Pacquiao, as conclusive and concussive an end to a championship fight as you will ever see.

Seventeen months ago Hatton was in a similar position, prone on the canvas, having been out-foxed and out-boxed by the masterful Floyd Mayweather Junior.

But even in that defeat, there were glimmers of hope, shards of reasons why he should carry on with his career.

Against Mayweather, the Hitman had moved out of his ten-stone comfort zone, his training camps were suffering from his increasing worries about the fitness of trainer Billy Graham, and he was intent on ending his career on a high note.

Everyone knew there was plenty of fight left in the old Hyde dog.

But now, the reasons for hope, the rationale for continuing his career, lie as prostrate as Hatton did in that MGM Grand ring.

Now he has had two super-fights, and two defeats - and this one was at light-welterweight, where Hatton felt invincible.

So crushing was this loss, and so worrying the outcome, that Hatton has to think of his loved ones.

He lay on his back under the unforgiving glare of the ring lights, his unfocusing eyes trying to make sense of a shadowy world, as his brain bled and his senses lay scattered to the four corners of the ring.


A few yards away, mum Carol was desolate, fiancee Jennifer in pieces, and dad Ray looked as stunned as his son.

And for those of us who have had the pleasure and the privilege of watching Hatton's stellar career develop, these were moment of severe concern.

Even after he was helped to his stool and then guided from the ring on unsure legs, the fears remained.

Before harsh reality hit like and express train, Hatton's legion of fans had dared to hope that the stuff coming out of Ricky's training camp was all true.

That Floyd Mayweather Senior had knocked off a few rough edges, restored some of Ricky's dormant boxing skills, polished his defence and sharpened his act.

The evidence of November's defeat of Paulie Malignaggi was rolled out to fuel that hope.

But this was no Malignaggi. This was a force of nature, a southpaw with lightning feet, unpredictable moves, fast hands and deceptive power.

Pacquiao, like Mayweather Junior before him, is a modern great.


We had heard about Hatton working hard on his jab, about him throwing double jabs in sparring, about improved head movement and sharper reflexes.

The days of Hatton relying on his strength and courage, and trying to bulldoze opponents were gone, we were told.

The first round gave the lie to all that guff.

Whether the problems with Mayweather Senior in Hatton's training camp were as damaging as some claim, or whether Ricky simply lost his head and reverted to type in the white heat of a packed Garden Arena, will come out in the wash.

But from the first bell, it was clear things were not right.

Hatton was too easy to hit, trying to stalk Pacquiao, who was in and out, flashing in big rights and lefts at will, making his man look stale and susceptible. A right hook had him down before MC Michael Buffer's rumble had barely stopped echoing from the walls.

Then in came a left hand, winging in above Hatton's poor defence, and the canvas beckoned again.

The second round gave brief cause to believe. Hatton staged a rally of sorts, catching Pacquiao with a couple of stiff shots that made the little Filipino think twice.


But they were brief moments of calm in the typhoon. Pacquiao came again, and a left hook of brutal power and succinct accuracy caught Hatton on the point of the jaw, snapping his head left and right with sickening force.

As he was rolled into the recovery position, the disappointment of defeat swiftly gave way to a concern for the man's health, thankfully short-lived.

With Hatton despatched to hospital, Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach outlined their game plan, and claimed, with some justification, that they had the number of Hatton and Mayweather Senior from day one.

They had picked out the basic flaws in Hatton's defence, trusted in their belief that Hatton's new trainer would not be able to correct them, and had preyed on the weaknesses.

Hatton is a warrior and will not be happy to leave the fight game in such a despairing way, yet his plans for homecoming fights at Wembley or the Millennium Stadium have surely dissipated like Nevada mist at sun-up.

The elite strata in the middling divisions is now occupied by Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and the returning Mayweather Junior - who takes on Marquez in his comeback fight in July. Hatton, who touched those heights when he beat Kostya Tszyu in 2005, no longer belongs at that level.

There are good match-ups for him should he decide to stick with the sport he loves, not least a possible clash with Amir Khan, especially if the Bolton boxer beats Andreas Kotelnik next month. Khan might also fancy the chance to add the scalp of a fading Hatton to his belt.

But whether Hatton's legion of fans, who love him for his humanity as much as for his thrill-a-minute fight career, will want to see it is another matter.


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Floyd ‘The Ducker’ Mayweather Jr. won’t fight Manny Pacquiao

Floyd Mayweather Jr. nicknamed himself money. No name in any language on earth could be more apropos when it comes to describing a man who also holds the world championship for ducking good fighters in their prime.

How impressive is his undefeated record when you look at who he has fought and when? I thought it was ridiculous when praise was heaped on him for beating Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya was a shell of himself when he fought Mayweather. Before the fight Floyd Jr. ran his mouth like Floyd Sr. spewing nonsense about how he would brutally beat Oscar down and knock him out early, yet when the fight took place Mayweather showed a great deal of speed, when it came to running that is. The only brutal beating in that fight was the abuse boxing fans took in hoping to see an actual fight.

That is the real Floyd Mayweather Jr., a fighter who patiently waits for the best fighters in the game to be taken out by others so he won’t have too. Many people think Mayweather’s best defense is his speedy hands and quick feet. Floyd’s best defense is ducking fighters in their prime, no one has ever come close to being as good as he is at it. Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosely, and Miguel Cotto could have all been big fights where Mayweather could’ve shown he is something more than a paper champion, but didn’t. On the day of Manny Pacquiao’s destruction of Ricky Hatton in two rounds Mayweather announced he is coming out of retirement to fight Juan Manual Marquez. Coming out of retirement for a fighter in their prime is also known as I’ve ducked the premier fighters in the game as long as I could, so now its time for me to find another washed up fighter to take advantage of. Marquez was a fighting great. He is past his prime now and like Mayweather did to an aging Oscar De La Hoya, he will do the same thing to Marquez. Marquez will think he is in a track meet, not a boxing match. Floyd will run from bell to bell. A real boxing fan will not order this piece of garbage on pay per view. If you want to see this fight just find a copy of Mayweather – De La Hoya and you’ll see exactly how it will go down without wasting your money.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the biggest fraud boxing has ever seen. Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell, Zab Judah, and Henry Bruseles are the type of fighters Mayweather used to make a name for himself. He uses fighters who once had a big name and following to fool the public. If Floyd Mayweather is boxings best pound for pound fighter like he says he is, why does he need to fight a past his prime fighter in Marquez? That would be because Marquez is an easy mark for another big pay day. Mark my words Floyd Mayweather Jr. will not fight Manny Pacquiao by the end of this year. Mayweather knows he can’t beat Pacquiao and will wait until someone else comes along who can before he will fight him. That’s just how ‘Money’ is.


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Ricky Hatton has a serious decision to make after Manny Pacquiao defeat

For the defeated, deflated Hatton, felled by a crunching left hook which left him prone on the canvas, there was a hospital visit for a CAT scan which, thankfully, revealed no legacy of damage to his health. The lasting scars may be more about creeping doubts.

For the victor, the spoils, as witnessed by as sell-out 16,262 crowd, and millions on television. Pacquiao, £15 million richer, the International Boxing Organisation and The Ring light-welterweight titles now in his possession, enjoyed an hour of karaoke on stage at the Mandalay Bay Resort after his perfect plan came together. Three knockdowns, six minutes' work, one cut on his face from a Hatton elbow. Job done.

Boxing is a brutal, dark trade, and can play tricks on a man's mind. The estimated £10 million Hatton will glean will do little to ease the 30-year-old fighter's agony over his worst career defeat. Glory has always been his goal.

If Hatton was desperate following his first defeat against Floyd Mayweather Jnr 16 months ago, the unravelling of his second attempt at boxing's pound-for-pound king may leave him desperate, but with serious decisions to make. A question mark now remains about his punch resistance, and whether he aged dramatically in this fight.

In his defence, of which he inexplicably showed little of against Pacquiao, his only defeats have come against two fighters destined to be viewed in time as the leading fighters of this generation, both sublimely skilled. Pacquiao with speed, Mayweather with a sublime feel for boxing. Hatton should not be too hard on himself.

Retirement will be pushed forward as the chief option, given the manner of defeat. Hatton recovered quietly with his family after being given the all-clear from medical advisers, and although his father, Ray, insisted his son's future was a matter for the fighter, the writing is on the wall.

Both trainers involved in the fight said as much, without really spelling it out.

Floyd Mayweather Snr, Hatton's trainer, against whom the whispers of recrimination are beginning to emerge, was adamant that any decision about ending a 45-2 career should be made by the British fighter. "I can't tell nobody when to retire, and I wouldn't suggest he retire," Mayweather said. "He should do that on his own. It is the best way, and it up to him.

"Some people may want to try it again or one more time, and only the individual can make that decision. He tried twice [against Pacquiao and Mayweather Jnr] and he failed twice. It's his choice at the end of the day."

Mayweather's assessment of Hatton's performance clearly indicated that Hatton had strayed from the game plan. "Ricky made an error and Pacquiao capitalised on it. He should have kept his hands up better, if you want to talk about mistakes.

"I've been preaching and preaching it. He went in open, [with his hands] low. Defence is what I've been telling him to do, to catch the punches, to throw punches and bring his hands back [to his chin].

"A lot of the time in boxing when fighters get knocked out – and I'm not saying this about Ricky or any particular fighter – when they get knocked out they are not the same any more."

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's coach, offered a similar assessment: "There are a lot of guys Ricky can beat out there, but he has had mega-fights, and a great career. He has been a multi-world champion. He has a son, a family, he has enough money. Why fight on? With a devastating knockout like that he has to think about retiring but that's up to him. But he should take some time out, make a decision, but not make it in haste. He'll take some time off and he'll make the right decision."

Mayweather denied there had been rifts in the camp, insisting that the media has twisted his words. "It is not true that there were differences in the camp. I spoke to some people and those things were twisted and turned around and smoothed out."

However, Mayweather's comments will do little to dispel the reports that he is going to split with Hatton after just two fights in charge. Insiders from Hatton's entourage had closed ranks with a wall of silence after the fight, not one of them prepared to speak about the issues rumoured to have bedevilled the training camp.

Pity Hatton, for he will see this knockout time and again as it gets replayed on KO reels. Pacquiao, the victor over three No 1 rated fighters in three divisions – Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera (featherweight) and Juan Manuel Marquez (super-featherweight) – is beginning to rewrite the record books.

"They say I'm the best trainer in the world," Roach said. "That's only because I've got the best fighter in the world training with me. Manny is incredible. He just gets better and better."

Hatton, when his head clears, will have some serious, serious thinking to do. On this showing, it looks like the time may have come to consider the dreaded 'R' word. But he will loved no less by his fans, the media and fellow sportsmen. Let's hope Hatton is not too brave for his own good


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Any Questions? - BoxingScene’s New Pound for Pound Top Ten

Since the retirement of Joe Calzaghe, there had been little reason to revisit the sport’s ten best fighters but a series of events and milestones have shaken up the picture in ways which can appeal to any fight fan.

On Saturday, May 2nd, former multi-division World Champion Floyd Mayweather announced he will be returning to the ring in July for a showdown with reigning World Lightweight king Juan Manuel Marquez. On the evening of the same date, the sports best active fighter made clear who the winner of Mayweather-Marquez should be gunning for. Both of these events have an impact on the new ratings.

Also impacting the new ratings are a pair of absences. The two titans of the Jr. Featherweight class, World Champion Israel Vazquez and former champion Rafael Marquez, have been inactive since their epic third fight on March 1 of last year. Marquez has imminent plans to return; Vazquez does not as yet and is therefore removed from this latest list. When his plans become clear, he will of course be reconsidered.

Their exit makes room for a new if familiar face which you’ll find in these new Boxing Scene Pound for Pound ratings.

1) Manny Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KO’S)

Age: 30

Current Titles: World Junior Welterweight (140 lbs.)

Career Titles: World Flyweight/112 lb. champion (1998-99); World Featherweight/126 lb. champion (2003-2005); World Jr. Lightweight/130 lb. champion (2008); additional alphabelts at 112, 122, 130, and 135 lbs.

Last Five Opponents: Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, David Diaz, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: The boxing world might run out of adjectives before it’s over, but it will go down swinging. The idea of Pacquiao as the sports best fighter started to be realistic in 2006 but it took until Mayweather’s now ended sabbatical to fully center attention on what has truly become the best boxing story in years. On May 2, the sport gave witness to a fighter who can now say he won both the World Flyweight and World Jr. Welterweight crowns with a single shot. It’s astounding stuff. Over the last decade plus, since the decline of Pernell Whitaker, the sport has seen pound-for-pound ratings become largely over emphasized, made into a marketing tool for incredibly talented but cautiously maneuvered athletes who sometimes gave the impression they were more interested in not losing than in finding out how great they could be. Pacquiao is different, homage to the eras when greatness was solidified through a combination of accomplishment and the audacity of risk the greatest fighters were willing to take. Pacquiao may or may not go on to defeat men like Mayweather, Shane Mosley, or Miguel Cotto; the odds should still be against it because despite the euphoria of recent encounters, size in skilled fighters still does matter. There is little doubt that he will try at least some of those names and that’s what matters. It would take an even longer step back in history than Whitaker, a step back to the career of Roberto Duran, to find a fighter reaching as far to maximize his talents and it is with the Duran’s and Henry Armstrong’s of history that Pacquiao will dare to compete with from here on out.

2) Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO)

Age: 35

Current Title: World Lightweight/135 lb. Champion (2008-Present)

Career Titles: Alphabet titles at 126, 130 lbs.

Last Five Opponents: Juan Diaz, Joel Casamayor, Manny Pacquiao, Rocky Juarez, Marco Antonio Barrera

Next Opponent: July 16, 2009 vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KO)

The Take: After a better fight than anyone expected, resulting in a knockout win of Joel Casamayor for the Lightweight crown, one could wonder if we’d seen a last great outing from two aging classics. Then Marquez won what remains so far the best fight of 2009 against Juan Diaz in March, giving up a decade on the calendar and enduring serious fire early. Beginning with his tough win over his fellow Mexican great Barrera, maybe even beginning when he was heisted on the cards against Chris John in 2006 at Featherweight, Marquez has been on a tear which took him from acknowledged ‘very good’ fighter to imminent Hall of Fame entrant. Now he’s about to be compensated for those accomplishments with a showdown against the returning Mayweather. If Mayweather were returning from multiple years off, if photos had shown him getting fat, then perhaps this wouldn’t be as intriguing. Clearly Mayweather has taken care of himself as he waited for the perfect time to return to the game which means Marquez will get the best of him in a dangerous fight. Like Pacquiao, he is reaching beyond what the scale says should be his grasp and is in almost a no-lose situation. Short of a blowout loss, he could come out of the fight elevated regardless of the outcome.

3) Floyd Mayweather (39-0, 25 KO)

Age: 32

Current Title: None

Career Titles: World Jr. Lightweight champion (1998-2001); World Lightweight champion (2002-04); World Welterweight/147 lbs. (2007-09); additional alphabelts at 130, 135, 140, 147 & 154 lbs.

Last Five Opponents: Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Carlos Baldomir, Zab Judah, Sharmba Mitchell

Up Next: July 16, 2009 vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO)

My Take: There will be some wondering what Mayweather is doing back in the ratings before he’s even had a fight. The answer is simple: he’s Floyd Mayweather and he signed a contract. That makes him active enough and given the propensity of fighters to take long layoffs at the star level these days as well as what is already known of Mayweather, it’s enough to assume he’s still at least almost as good as he was before his vacation (c’mon, was anyone stupid enough to think he was really ‘retired?’). It’s just not enough to move him higher given what Pacquiao and Marquez have been up to. There has been some early criticism of his decision to take on the naturally smaller Marquez but why? Since when is the former Lightweight champ taking on the current Lightweight champ a bad thing? While Mayweather against Shane Mosley at Welterweight would be easier to anticipate, Marquez will be motivated and there to win. Mayweather could have his hands full. If he does not, it will be because he hasn’t lost the fastball which guided him to greatness over Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo and Oscar De La Hoya over the years and the drumbeat to the best pound-for-pound showdown in a generation can begin.

4) Bernard Hopkins (49-5-1, 32 KO)

Age: 44 Years Young

Current Title: None

Career Titles: Ring Light Heavyweight/175 lb. titlist (2006-2008); World Middleweight/160 lb. Champion (2001-2005); Alphabelt titles at 160 lbs. from 1995-2005

Last Five Opponents: Kelly Pavlik, Joe Calzaghe, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Jermain Taylor (twice)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: There were some dull performances from Hopkins in recent years, performances that made him look like his age was catching up to him as defense came too often before offense. The win over Pavlik was the opposite, Hopkins best performance since the Trinidad fight and, all things considered, perhaps even better than that gem. Given the proof that Hopkins is still capable of fighting at the level he showed against Pavlik, and given the retirement of his most recent conqueror in Calzaghe, there is no way he can rest anywhere else amongst the world’s best fighters than near the top. Consider this as well in appreciating Hopkins: all of his last four foes were near universally rated in the top ten’s that populate Boxing going into their bouts with Hopkins. The losses to Taylor were both highly controversial and the wins over Tarver and Wright were not close. Furthermore, they can’t be viewed as performances from an ‘old’ fighter anymore…at least not in the normal context of ‘old.’ The win over Pavlik, particularly the sheer dominance of it, casts Hopkins recent run in a whole new light and provides compelling evidence that, at 44, he’s still an active all-time great rather a historical one and he gets full credit for the distinction. He looks certain to fight again this year but against who is wildly in the air. Regardless, anyone who loves the sweet science will be there in rapt attention, ready to learn from the professor.

5) Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KO)

Age: 37

Current Title: WBA Welterweight

Career Titles: World Welterweight (2000-02); World Junior Middleweight (2003-04); Additional Alphabelt at Lightweight

Last Five Opponents: Antonio Margarito, Ricardo Mayorga, Miguel Cotto, Luis Collazo, Fernando Vargas (twice)

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: At the tail end of the post-fight press conference for Pacquiao-Hatton, Mosley can be heard calling Pacquiao out more than once. He wants the fight but, as has been too often the case for Mosley, he rests in line behind men who promise bigger ticket sales. It’s too bad. While he can’t quite claim to be the undisputed king of the class following his humbling of Antonio Margarito (though the Cyber Boxing Zone has installed him as such in their online encyclopedia), there can be no doubt he reigns again as “The Man” seven years after losing the Welterweight title to Vernon Forrest. Sure, he lost narrowly to Miguel Cotto in 2007 but there were arguments for both men. Mosley never even let Margarito make a case. Like another great Sugar at the same calendar age, Ray Robinson, Mosley showed the ability to handle a younger pressure fighter and summon youth from an aging body for victory. Margarito may not have been Carmen Basilio, but he had never been made to look the way Mosley left him, loaded gloves or no. Add to that a powerful run of recent competition and Mosley figures prominently amongst boxing’s best. With Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum already hinting that Pacquiao could be aimed at Miguel Cotto rather than Mayweather in the immediate future, Mosley could end up the only viable foe for “Money” if Mayweather out duels Marquez. Mosley-Mayweather is a battle over a decade in the making and would be no one’s consolation prize.

6) Ivan Calderon (32-0, 6 KO)

Age: 34

Current Title: World Jr. Flyweight/108 lb. Champion (2007-Present)

Career Titles: Additional alphabelts at 105 & 108 lbs.

Last Five Opponents: Hugo Cazares (twice), Nelson Dieppa, Juan Esquer, Ronald Barrera, Jose Luis Varela

Next Opponent: June 13, 2009 vs. Rodel Mayol (25-3, 19 KO)

The Take: You’ll read from many a knowledgeable scribe that this diminutive Puerto Rican champion ‘might be the best pure boxer in the sport.’ Calderon can do it all in the ring short of knock opponents dead, making his inability to lose thus far all the more remarkable. His game is all skill with just enough thrill (usually) to make his fights worth watching; this is no Sven Ottke. After years as the uncrowned king at 105 lbs., Calderon outboxed and outgutted a much larger (at the opening bell) Cazares in August 2007 to cement his foothold among the game’s elite by capturing the World title at 108 lbs. The similarly small Ricardo Lopez was marvelously underrated for years of his prime; no need to make that mistake twice with Calderon facing the near end of his. Over the last year, it appeared his biggest challenge could come from Ulises Solis but the rousing upset of Solis by former titlist and U.S. Olympian Brian Viloria for the WBC belt has changed the state of the class. If Calderon gets by the rugged Rodel Mayol, and he should, Calderon-Viloria is the biggest money fight at 108 lbs. in a long time.

7) Paul Williams (37-1, 27 KO)

Age: 27

Current Title: None

Career Titles: Two alphabelt reigns at Welterweight

Last Five Opponents: Winky Wright, Verno Phillips, Andy Kolle, Carlos Quintana (twice), Antonio Margarito, Santos Pakau

Next Opponent: TBA

The Take: For twenty years, the only way Verno Phillips missed a final bell was if he sent his opponent home early. In other words, Williams’ stoppage of Phillips in November 2008 was an impressive feat. Had Phillips not had to vacate his IBF belt at 154 lbs., it also would have been the start of his third major title reign in his second division. Add to that a tough win over Margarito in July 2007 and a first-loss avenging first round blasting of Quintana and Boxing fans could see in Williams a potentially special fighter. Then he went out and won every round against a probable future Hall of famer in Wright in April of this year and it was clear we may be watching the best fighter in the world even if we don’t know it yet. Long layoff prior to the bout or not, Wright still looked good in the ring. It just didn’t matter. At 6’1 with speed, power and an off the charts work rate, Williams figures to be a tough out for anyone from Welterweight to Middleweight and that’s why he’s in a bind to get a serious fight in any of those classes. Contests with either of the world’s top two Middleweights, Kelly Pavlik and Arthur Abraham, would be high drama. Eighteen months from now, Williams versus Cuban defector Erislandy Lara could well be the best fight in boxing.

8) Chad Dawson (27-0, 17 KO)

Age: 26

Current Title: IBF Light Heavyweight

Career Titles: Another Alphabelt at 175

Last Five Opponents: Antonio Tarver, Glen Johnson, Epifanio Mendoza, Jesus Ruiz, Tomasz Adamek

Next Opponent: May 9, 2009 vs. Antonio Tarver (27-5, 19 KO)

The Take: This Light Heavyweight star in the making has put together an impressive run since toppling veteran Eric Harding in 2006. His win over Adamek was almost bell to bell control; Adamek has since established himself as the best Cruiserweight in the world. Johnson and Tarver give him wins over two recent, popular choices for Light Heavyweight champion of the World. The Johnson bout in April 2008 could have gone either way but he survived a war and came out a better fighter for it, showing the improvements in handling a game Tarver last October. An endorsement from Floyd Mayweather as the sport’s best fighter while he was out may be premature, but Mayweather knows his Boxing. He sees something special. At this point, so should everyone else. The Tarver rematch is less than anticipated but it’s a classic trap fight and, interestingly, Tarver has never lost a rematch.

9) Miguel Cotto (33-1, 27 KO)

Age: 28

Current Title: WBO Welterweight

Career Titles: Alphabelt reigns at Jr. Welterweight & Welterweight

Last Five Opponents: Michael Jennings, Antonio Margarito, Alfonso Gomez, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah

Next Opponent: June 13, 2009 vs. Joshua Clottey (35-2, 20 KO)

He’s had the requisite ‘comeback soft but not too soft’ bout after his first defeat at the hands of Antonio Margarito in 2008 and the good news for fans was he still looked like Cotto. That could be bad news for the rest of the Welterweights. Cotto has amassed a remarkable body of work this decade, having faced eleven current or former major titlists since turning pro in 2001. Cotto has defeated ten of them and is the last man to defeat a Mosley. His lone loss must now be called to serious question in light of Margarito’s suspension for attempting to load his gloves and he follows walloping Jennings for a vacant WBO belt with one of the toughest outs he could ask for, Ghana’s Joshua Clottey. Clottey was recently forced to give up his IBF title or this would be a unification bout. It’s not but who cares? It promises to be a rough battle, meaning par for the course in an already loaded 2009.

10) Rafael Marquez (37-5, 33 KO)

Age: 34

Current Title: World Jr. Featherweight (2007)

Career Titles: Alphabelt Bantamweight/118 lbs.

Last Five Opponents: Israel Vasquez, Silence Mabuza, Ricardo Vargas, Mauricio Pastrana, Heriberto Ruiz

Next Opponent: May 23, 2009 vs. Jose Francisco Mendoza (21-2-2, 17 KO)

My Take: After three early career stoppage losses that might have doomed him to be just “Juan Manuel’s brother,” Marquez found his way into the ring in 2001 and 02 with American Flyweight great Mark Johnson. Johnson marked his first great rival and Marquez ended Johnson’s prime while emerging victorious in both those bouts. In 2003, he ended the run of another solid American, this one undefeated bantamweight Tim Austin, annexing the IBF belt at 118 lbs. in the process. Seven title defenses later, he stood out as one of the best Bantamweights to come around since the 1980s heyday of Jeff Chandler. His world title victory in the first Vasquez fight and the two subsequent losses put the icing on the cake. His has been a great career and it’s not over yet. His return after a long layoff will draw scrutiny as fans wonder what he brings to the table after the wars of 2007 and 2008. Given the long layoff, he drops just slightly to the ten spot.

Exiting the Ratings: Israel Vasquez (Previously #5)

Five More Who Could Easily Be Here: Vic Darchinyan, Fernando Montiel, Hozumi Hasegawa, Chris John, Nonito Donaire

Five More Who Could Be Here Shortly: Juan Manuel Lopez, Kelly Pavlik, Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Celestino Caballero

As always, feel free to agree…and disagree. This list is for entertainment purposes only and based purely on imagination, hypotheticals and conjecture just like every other pound for pound list ever written. Neither it nor any other such list made up of such illusory ingredients should be used to forward corporate agendas of any kind.

That doesn’t make it any less fun to argue about.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at


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