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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pacquiao's Hatton hammer blow leaves new champion sore

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Manny Pacquiao admitted his hand was still feeling a little bruised two hours after a booming left hook knocked out Ricky Hatton in the second round of their eagerly awaited showdown on Saturday.

The Filipino challenger claimed the IBO light-welterweight title after sending Hatton sprawling to the canvas twice in the opening round before knocking him out cold with one second remaining in the next.

"I believe it was a very hard punch," Pacquiao told reporters after improving his career record to 49-3-2 with 37 knockouts. "My hand still hurts."

Hatton's assistant trainer Lee Beard said: "There was nothing Ricky could do. He got caught with a few good shots, he got back up and then obviously he got caught with that one big shot at the end."

Although Pacquiao was widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Hatton was believed to hold a size advantage at his natural weight of 140 pounds in a division where he had never previously lost.

However, Pacquiao always believed he would prove to be the stronger man.

"Before the fight, a lot of people think Ricky Hatton's bigger than me but I didn't put that in my mind," said the 30-year-old, who weighed only 106 pounds on his professional debut.

"I still believe that my body's bigger than Ricky. But with respect, he's still a good fighter."

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