Another weekend, another exciting boxing match – Ricky Hatton Vs Manny Pacquiao. I thought I would be watching the fight right now instead of blogging, but Manny blew away the “Hitman” in just 2 rounds and here I am. I stayed awake all night to watch this fight LIVE and although I predicted a Manny victory prior to the fight, I am surprised at the clinical and emphatic manner in which Manny finished off Hatton.
As with the Hatton-Mayweather Jr., fight, a lot of hype was built up around the “new” Hatton for his fight with Manny. And as usual, Hatton spoke a lot prior to the fight – about how Manny will be facing a fiery Hatton, how Manny will be fighting his biggest opponent, how Manny will be punished by body blows, blah, blah…. On the other hand, Manny didn’t talk much and was just focussed on the fight.
If at all this indicated anything, looking at the kin of the 2 fighters as they made their ring entrances, you could see such a stark contrast. Hatton’s fiancée looked very nervous, whereas Manny’s wife seemed relaxed. Manny himself resembled a smiling assassin when he entered the ring. When the first round began, it seemed to me that Manny was backing off a bit and I thought he was trying to avoid “heavy” punches from the Hitman. However, Manny soon showed us that his quick feet and hands (southpaw) were going to pose Hatton a problem and soon there was a swing and a miss from Hatton which allowed Manny to land a clean punch, thereby knocking down Hatton for the first time in the match. Hatton was then knocked down a second time in round 1 and the bell ensured that the fight would stretch to two rounds. In the second round, Manny was able to easily jab Hatton. Then, came the big one from Manny – a brutal left hook to Hatton’s chin. Hatton fell to the floor as if he were poleaxed and he was unconscious. Hatton was sprawled across the canvas for a while, causing some concern. Fortunately, he was back on his feet later and fully conscious. So, the fight was over within 2 rounds and Manny left no doubt in anybody’s mind as to who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
In my opinion, I never considered Hatton to be even among the top 5 candidates for the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. My opinion is based on the fact that Hatton has one and only one way of fighting – walk right into the opponent punching with brute force, no quick feet and poor defence. This boxing style actually bears closer resemblance to pub brawls and will easily be outclassed by technically superior boxing styles. Hatton himself said “The Mayweather fight changed my career. I had too many fights where there was no real thought in the way I was fighting”. Unfortunately, there’s still no thought and no improvement as seen in his fight with Manny. The brilliant Freddie Roach (Manny’s coach) found flaws in Hatton’s style, worked with Manny in the gym on exploiting those flaws and predicted a 3rd round knockout. Manny made Freddie’s prediction turn out wrong by knocking out Hatton in the 2nd round, but Freddie will gladly accept that.
Ever since Ricky Hatton won the IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship belt by defeating a 35-year old Kostya Tszyu, he was hailed as a boxing legend in Britain and the marketing and money-spinning machines worked overtime to build a fairy-tale bubble around Hatton. What actually seemed annoying to me was that Hatton simply did not respect his profession enough. He did not follow a boxer’s regime and keep in shape. Instead, it was fast foods and sort of a pub lifestyle. It seemed to me that Hatton thought he was the best light-welterweight fighter in the world without even being tested by world class fighters who were in their prime. And this bloated ego was very evident in all the bragging crap he dished out in the pre-match build-ups for his fights against Floyd and Manny – both truly great champions. Well, if there’s anything I can give Hatton credit for, it’s his ability to put bums in seats. He simply never failed to attract huge crowds even when fighting away from home. He’s got a huge fan base who’ve travelled with him for his fights. To me, Hatton is a people’s champ, but not a boxing legend.
What next for Hatton?: He should hang up his gloves and enjoy his time with his family. He’s fought hard, held the light-welterweight championship belts for around 4 years and made a lot of money. Now, it seems he’s hit a brick wall with regards to where his boxing ability can take him. He’s had a shot at 2 great champs and has been knocked out by both. Unless, he can radically transform himself into a new Hatton bearing all the qualities of a great fighter (new style, strict training regime, etc.), will it be worth him trying another shot to get back his title, but there is a very, very small possibility, if not zero, that this can happen.
What next for Manny?: Floyd Mayweather Jr. fights Juan Manuel Marquez in July 2009. Manny has already had 2 gruelling fights with Juan (1 draw and 1 controversial win for Manny) and all boxing fans would love to see Manny take on Floyd Mayweather Jr.