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Monday, May 4, 2009


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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